A citizens alliance said yesterday that it is launching a recall campaign against incompetent legislators because President Ma Ying-jeou’s (馬英九) poor governance has reached a level that demands decisive action against lawmakers who place their personal and party interests above everything else.
“We are launching the campaign because recalling Ma would be much more difficult due to the high threshold. Secondly, Taiwanese have never before exercised their constitutional right of recall,” award-winning screenwriter and author Neil Peng (馮光遠), one of the founders of the newly established Constitution 133 Alliance (憲法133實踐聯盟), told a press conference.
Article 133 of the Constitution states that “a person elected may be recalled by his constituency.”
The alliance said it is not targeting specific lawmakers or political parties, but would primarily focus on recalling those lawmakers who ignored their mandate and aligned themselves with Ma and the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT), adding that it would also recall any Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) lawmaker deemed incompetent.
The press conference yesterday drew the public’s attention because of the number of celebrities among the alliance’s founders, including film director Ko I-chen (柯一正), political commentator Nan Fang Shuo (南方朔), environmentalist Robin Winkler, Hakka folk singer Lin Sheng-xiang (林生祥) and retired National Tsing Hua University professor Peng Ming-hui (彭明輝).
Positioned as a civil movement, the campaign will try to garner public support largely through Internet-based promotions and mobilizations, but it does not rule out collaborating with political parties, Peng said.
Letters of commitment will be sent to lawmakers, who will be asked to state their position on several major controversial issues, such as nuclear energy and the cross-strait service trade agreement, before the alliance makes its recall recommendations based on their replies.
“Legislators are supposed to be the representatives of the people, but some of them have turned their back on the people and have become the enemy of the people. That is why we want to take the matter into our own hands,” Ko said.
Recalling a legislator requires a minimum of 2 percent of the total electorate in the legislator’s electoral district to propose the recall bid for it to be legitimate. If the proposal is accepted, it must then be jointly petitioned by no less than 13 percent of the total electors. The motion then must receive votes from more than half of the total electorate, more than 50 percent of which have to support the recall if the motion is to pass.
However, the process would be much more important than the results and it would “set an unprecedented example for Taiwan’s democracy,” Winkler said.
Peng said the campaign against the lawmakers was “actually a reflection of the people’s disappointment with the Ma administration’s governance and its violations of human rights.”
Controversies and chaos in Taiwanese society today can be traced back to government officials’ being brainwashed by neoliberalism and their belief that sacrificing the benefits of the few would bring greater good to the majority, he said.
“Unfortunately, that was not the case in Taiwan. What the government did in Miaoli County’s Dapu Borough (大埔) and with the cross-strait service trade agreement has sacrificed the rights of half of the people and benefited only ‘1 percent,’” Peng said.