The Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) proposal to tighten rules for recalling legislators may face strong resistance from the public, civic groups said yesterday.
“On March 18, hundreds of people broke into the Legislative Yuan complex and took control of the legislative floor for nearly a month because we believed that our representative democracy is not working properly,” said Chen Wei-chen (陳韋辰), a member of the Black Island Nation Youth Front (黑色島國青年聯盟), one of the central groups that took part in the Sunflower movement.
“I hope the KMT caucus has learned from the experience, and stops challenging the people,” he said.
Photo: Chen Chih-chu, Taipei Times
The KMT legislative caucus’ proposed revisions to the Election and Recall Act for Public Servants (公職人員選舉罷免法) require recall petitioners to submit photocopies of their national identification cards and letters of indemnity confirming that they signed the petition.
“Election and recall are both fundamental rights of the people, yet the requirements on people wishing to recall elected representatives is higher than when electing them. That does not make sense,” Taiwan Association of University Professors president Lu Chung-chin (呂忠津) said.
“It’s unacceptable that lawmakers are trying to raise the threshold, when the threshold is already too high,” he added.
Writer and Constitution 133 Alliance cofounder Neil Peng (馮光遠) said the amendment was in fact unnecessary.
“The KMT caucus said that requiring people to attach copies of their national ID cards and a letter of indemnity to their recall petition is to ensure all the information on the petition is correct,” Peng said.
“Under current law, all information on petitions must be verified by the Central Election Commission as accurate. If there is something wrong on a petition, it will be taken out and deemed invalid, and if the petitioner purposely submits false information, they may be prosecuted.”
“Therefore, the requirements under the proposed amendment are already covered,” Peng said.
Attorney Huang Di-ying (黃帝穎) said that the KMT’s attempt to raise the threshold would only lead to stronger resistance from the public.
“I thought the KMT might have learned from the wave of protests over the past few months, but apparently it has not,” Huang said.
“Instead of becoming more open, it’s trying to build higher walls between the party and the people,” he said.
“If the KMT insists on preventing people from venting their dissatisfaction within the constitutional system, people will have no choice but to rise up, resolving the problem through means outside of the system,” he added.
Meanwhile, organizers of the Appendectomy Project — the recall campaign whose name is a play on the Mandarin pronunciation of “pan-blue lawmakers” — said in a press release yesterday that they are staging a protest against the proposed amendment.
“We call for legislators to vote against the amendment proposal. And we’re organizing a petition to recall three KMT lawmakers — Alex Tsai (蔡正元), Lin Hung-chih (林鴻池) and Wu Yu-sheng (吳育昇),” they said.
The three lawmakers were listed as the first batch of candidates whom the campaign singled out as failing the public and adhering only to President Ma Ying-jeou’s (馬英九) instructions.
Because KMT lawmakers have attempted to neutralize the campaign’s efforts through the tightening of petitions and questioning its fundraising activities, the project is seeking cooperation with groups nationwide to boost its momentum, the organizers said.
The Black Island Nation Youth Front yesterday threw its support behind the campaign and warned KMT lawmakers against taking the campaign lightly.
The student-led group said in a press release that KMT lawmakers have not only forgotten why the Sunflower movement broke out in the first place, but have also tried to “push the boundaries by testing the limit of Taiwanese tolerance.”
“People’s rights to election and recall are protected by the Constitution. When the KMT tries to take those rights away from the public, it will mark the beginning of a constitutional crisis, as well as the collapse of Taiwan’s democracy,” the group said.
Food delivery provider Foodpanda had 564 consumer disputes from January to last month and failed to attend many mediation sessions with local governments nationwide, the Executive Yuan’s Consumer Protection Committee said. In a news release earlier this month, the committee said that it investigated consumer complaints and mediations for Foodpanda and rival Uber Eats during the period, when the number of delivery orders jumped due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Uber Eats had 80 consumer disputes, the committee said. Of Foodpanda’s consumer disputes, 368 resulted from delivery drivers canceling orders after customers could not be reached, 108 were related to the quality or quantity
‘HONEYMOON’ IS OVER: A political science professor said that the Tsai administration’s popularity peaked after it successfully contained COVID-19, but is waning President Tsai Ing-wen’s (蔡英文) and Premier Su Tseng-chang’s (蘇貞昌) approval ratings fell significantly this month in the wake of the government’s handling of the distribution of relief funds and stimulus coupons to people and businesses affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, a poll released yesterday by the New Power Party (NPP) showed. The poll showed that 68 percent of respondents said they were satisfied with Tsai’s performance, down 8.9 percentage points from last month, while 21 percent said they disapproved of her performance. Her approval among respondents aged 20 to 29 fell 14.7 percentage points, the largest decrease when compared with other age
‘CHINESE CAPITAL’: Fanny Liu was found guilty of reducing the rent of a tenant in exchange for a vote for a KMT Taipei city councilor candidate The Taipei District Court on Wednesday sentenced Fanny Liu (劉樂妍), a former member of the now-disbanded female pop group Fantasy 4, to 10 years in prison for vote-buying. The court found Liu — who is now based in China and has made pro-Chinese Communist Party remarks — guilty of reducing the rent on a Taipei property she owned in exchange for the tenant voting for a Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) candidate in the November 2018 nine-in-one local elections. She can appeal the ruling. Liu in December 2018 reportedly lowered the rent by NT$1,000 after the tenant said they had voted for Taipei City
Passengers arriving at Taoyuan International Airport will find that most entrances to both terminals have been sealed off as part of its COVID-19 prevention efforts. Follow the signs and directions posted on the doors to find the nearest entry point. The airport has installed infrared cameras and thermometer guns at all open entrances, and all persons with a temperature of over 37.5 degrees Celsius are prohibited from entering the terminal. In addition, staff will take the temperature of those checking in to their flights in advance at Airport MRT stations A1 and A3. In accordance with the Centers of Disease