The no-confidence motion initiated by the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) and the Taiwan Solidarity Union against the Cabinet is the right thing to do not only because the latter has been incompetent and is involved in an ongoing political dispute, but also because the Legislative Yuan no longer represents mainstream public opinion, academics told a press conference yesterday.
Several professors from the Taiwan Association of University Professors (TAUP) called on the public and Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) legislators to support the motion, which is to be put to a vote tomorrow and which the professors said is “more of a constitutional issue than a competition between political parties.”
Citing the latest public opinion poll conducted by Taiwan Indicators Survey Research, which showed that Premier Jiang Yi-huah’s (江宜樺) approval rating was a dismal 15.8 percent, TAUP President Lu Chung-chin (呂忠津) said that Jiang “has lost the public’s trust and is unqualified for the post.”
Photo: Chen Chih-chu, Taipei Times
The premier has played a major role in the current political turmoil — initiated by President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) through his attempt to remove Legislative Speaker Wang Jin-pyng (王金平) — and under him, the Cabinet has not only abused policing powers and human rights, but also signed the cross-strait service trade agreement without consulting the public, the association said.
As it would be difficult to impeach or recall the highly unpopular Ma under the current constitutional mechanisms, the only way to hold the president accountable for his actions is to force the premier — a de facto executive director under Ma in Taiwan’s semi-presidential system — to step down, National Chengchi University law professor Lin Chia-ho (林佳和) said.
Yet Huang Kuo-chang (黃國昌), a research fellow at Academia Sinica, said the opposition and the public should “forget about whether they will actually meet the high threshold” and also pursue the impeachment and recall options to hold Ma accountable for his performance.
The dissolution of the Legislative Yuan is more important than reshuffling the Cabinet, since the current legislature — in particular, the KMT lawmakers — has failed to represent the public, Huang said.
Asked what Taiwanese could do if all three constitutional options fail, Huang said that if Ma is still able to wield the legislative majority through his position as KMT chairman after next year’s by-elections, “then we cannot do anything about it. After all, this is what democracy is all about.”
“However, in the event that this happens, civil society should step in and take charge of the situation,” Huang said, adding that the public could demand amending the Referendum Act (公民投票法) and the Civil Servants Election And Recall Act (公職人員選舉罷免法) so that voters could take matters in their own hands.
National Taipei University assistant professor Chen Yao-hsiang (陳耀祥) warned the Ma administration about the consequences if the constitutional measures to bring down the government do not succeed.
“When people no longer perceive the government as legitimate, [and the constitutional mechanisms fail] they could exercise their right to resist and initiate a civil disobedience movement. That would be too much for Ma to handle in the remainder of his term,” Chen said.
President Tsai Ing-wen’s (蔡英文) administration is seeking to join an Indo-Pacific economic framework being planned by the US, a senior official said. The government is paying close attention to the regional economic pact being touted by US President Joe Biden, although too few details have emerged from Washington for Taipei to make specific plans, the official said, speaking on the condition of anonymity. The US is expected to launch the Indo-Pacific economic framework next month after negotiations with Australia, India and Japan, the official said. The economic initiative is to tackle trade facilitation, standards for the digital economy and technology, supply-chain resiliency and
PIVOTAL ROLE: Taiwan’s importance in the global chip supply chain can be bolstered by domestic equipment manufacturing, President Tsai Ing-wen said Efforts must be made to better secure Taiwan’s place in the global supply chain by localizing production of equipment and facilities used by the semiconductor industry, President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) said yesterday. Tsai discussed the issue during a meeting with representatives from the Taiwan Electronic Equipment Industry Association at the Presidential Office in Taipei. Product shortages throughout the COVID-19 pandemic — particularly of automotive chips — highlighted the pivotal role of Taiwan in the global supply chain, she said. Tsai thanked the association for cooperating with the government on the shared goal of localizing production of important semiconductor industry equipment.
SEPARATE CASE? A woman tested positive when she went with her daughter to be tested, because her daughter had taken the same bus to school as a steakhouse worker The Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) yesterday reported 10 local COVID-19 cases, six of whom had visited a steakhouse in Taoyuan where an infection cluster has been reported. Minister of Health and Welfare Chen Shih-chung (陳時中), who heads the center, said that of the 10 local infections, one case — No. 17,928 — is a Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport disease prevention staffer who works in the area where inbound travelers collect their saliva for a COVID-19 polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test, and sometimes at the fever screening station. The staffer had tested negative in a PCR test on Jan. 9 and
TRACING UNDER WAY: The CECC has identified six transmission chains among 25 recently confirmed COVID-19 cases, including those linked to a restaurant and a bank The Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) yesterday reported 54 new COVID-19 infections — 44 imported and 10 local — and identified six transmission chains among local cases. Minister of Health and Welfare Chen Shih-chung (陳時中), who heads the center, said the imported cases are 18 who tested positive upon arrival at the airport and 26 who tested positive during quarantine. Of the local cases, seven are associated with a cluster infection at a Tasty Steak (西堤牛排) outlet in Taoyuan’s Zhongli District (中壢), one is linked to a family of four with COVID-19 reported on Monday, one is a family member of an