President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) is one of the nation’s “sources of chaos” and should bear the greatest responsibility for the discontent brewing among Taiwanese, said Shih Ming-te (施明德), a former Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) chairman who has severed ties with the party.
“We needed a president who exercises the powers afforded to him by the Constitution, not a president who oversteps the boundaries of what is constitutionally allowed,” Shih said in a speech yesterday at a forum hosted by the government-affiliated Taiwan Foundation for Democracy, the sixth in a series of lectures about the nation’s democratization.
The Constitution gives the president powers related to national defense, foreign affairs and cross-strait policy, while stipulating that the Executive Yuan — headed by the premier — is the highest administrative organ in government, Shih said.
However, Ma has always usurped the mandate of the premier, Shih said.
For example, it is unnecessary for Ma to sit in at meetings of the disaster response center to oversee operations whenever there is a typhoon, since he has no expertise in this field, Shih said.
Ma should instead focus on his constitutional duties as president, which include nominating the grand justices, as well as members of the Control and Examination Yuans, as “these duties would keep him busy enough,” he said.
Ma has always had a problem hiring the right people for the right jobs, Shih added.
Although his appointees in government might be experts in their respective fields, they are “boy scouts” in terms of politics and are incapable of pushing for progress, Shih said.
Shih said that people have often asked him why he has not initiated a campaign to demand Ma resign like he did in 2006 to try and oust then-president Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁).
“My answer to them is: Corruption is culpable, but incapability is not. In last year’s presidential election, Ma had already proven to be an incapable president, but he was re-elected anyway. We have to respect that,” Shih said.