Greater Kaohsiung Mayor Chen Chu (陳菊) of the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) yesterday described the current Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) infighting as “the worst” she has seen in her 40 years in politics, adding that President Ma Ying-jeou’s (馬英九) “political persecution” of Legislative Speaker Wang Jin-pyng (王金平) was “brutal.”
“What was the hurry? Was it necessary to launch the vendetta while Wang was out of the country for his daughter’s wedding? That is not the way people in southern Taiwan treat others,” Chen said on the sidelines of a DPP meeting, referring to Ma’s move to oust Wang over accusations of “illegal lobbying.”
Other DPP politicians voiced concerns that Ma had triggered a constitutional crisis.
“[The infighting] has sparked a constitutional crisis in Taiwan, with the president, who also serves as chairman of the ruling party, taking advantage of a loophole in the Constitution to carry out political persecution,” former DPP chairperson Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) said.
That a legislative speaker can be removed by the disciplinary panel of a political party also represents a constitutional setback, Tsai said.
Former premier Frank Hsieh (謝長廷) echoed Tsai’s concerns, saying he would like to invite Ma for a debate on the Constitution if the president insists he had not done anything unconstitutional.
Two opinion polls also showed public concern over Ma’s treatment of Wang.
A survey conducted on Tuesday and Wednesday by the DPP’s poll center found that 70.2 percent of respondents viewed the way Ma had handled the allegations of influence peddling against Wang as inappropriate, DPP spokesperson Lin Chun-hsien (林俊憲) told a press conference.
Public dissatisfaction with the president was high at 70.1 percent, with respondents believing that Ma’s order to have Wang expelled from the KMT was a reflection of party infighting, and 69.4 percent of respondents deeming it as inappropriate.
More than half, or 51.2 percent, of respondents thought Ma’s demand that Wang step down as legislative speaker was unconstitutional.
The DPP poll collected 1,095 valid samples and had a margin of error of 3 percentage points.
Another poll conducted by Taiwan Indicator Survey Research (TISR) from Monday to Wednesday showed similar results, with 51.7 percent of respondents agreeing that Ma had interfered with justice by addressing the case in several press conferences, while 22.7 percent said Ma was in the right.
Asked about the essence of the controversy, 41.6 percent said it was KMT infighting, 13.8 percent said it was infighting between judicial officials and 13.6 percent said it was a campaign against influence peddling.
A total of 79.3 percent of respondents said they did not believe judicial independence was achievable in Taiwan.
The poll collected 1,019 valid samples and had a margin of error of 3.1 percentage points.
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