Former Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) chairman Shih Ming-teh (施明德), who led the “red shirt” protests in 2008 against then-president Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁), said that although he has not considered mounting another protest, he could not promises that he would not enter the Presidential Office if there was another large demonstration.
Shih made the remarks on Thursday as he described what he considered as an unconstitutional attempt by President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) to remove Legislative Speaker Wang Jin-pyng (王金平) from his post.
The Ma-Wang showdown began on Aug. 31 when Prosecutor-General Huang Shih-ming (黃世銘) briefed Ma on information gathered through wiretapping that allegedly showed improper lobbying by Wang on behalf of DPP caucus whip Ker Chien-ming (柯建銘).
Ma tried to remove Wang from his post as legislative speaker saying Wang brought “shame on Taiwan’s judiciary and democratic history,” but the Taipei District Court ruled in favor of a provisional injunction, which allowed Wang to retain his Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) membership.
Shih said he believed the cause of the “September strife” was that past presidents have always been the chairperson of their respective parties.
The double status served to expand their powers and to facilitate their actions, he said, adding that Ma’s attempt to remove the legislative speaker — done in the role of party chairman rather than president — was a serious breach of the Constitution.
Even after this affront to constitutional dignity, efforts to dismiss the Cabinet were ineffective because of the KMT majority in the Legislative Yuan, Shih said.
“In the face of the opposition parties’ motion to dismiss the Cabinet, KMT lawmakers seem to have abandoned all their integrity and principles and turned from their position as strident critics,” Shih said.
“There is no right or wrong any more, only voting cadres of the pan-green and pan-blue blocs,” he said, adding that the in-built measures to curb the powers of the government were ineffective due to the high thresholds.
If the problem could not be resolved within the system — as is the case now — we must resort to long-term protests outside the system, Shih said.
“Many asked me to head yet another protest against the government,” Shih said, adding that he has no such plans at the moment.
However, Shih said he could not promise that he would not lose his patience and rush into the Presidential Office in protest if there was another large protest.