Wed, Aug 27, 2014 - Page 3 News List

Alex Tsai recall move overcomes initial threshold

‘CONGRATULATIONS’:When he heard the group had got 8,000 signatures, Alex Tsai said the campaign now had an outlet to spend the money it had raised

By Shih Hsiu-chuan  /  Staff reporter

The first threshold in a campaign to initiate a recall of Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) Legislator Alex Tsai (蔡正元) has been crossed, after more than 2 percent of the total electorate in Taipei’s Neihu (內湖) and Nangang (南港) districts signed a petition backing the motion, the Appendectomy Project announced yesterday.

The 8,006 signatures from the lawmaker’s constituency means the proposal can be forwarded to the Central Election Commission for review before the campaign can enter the next phase — getting at least 13 percent of the electorate to sign the petition, which would initiate a recall vote.

Tsai was among three KMT lawmakers targeted by a group of activists in May. The activists organized a campaign to oust what they call lan wei (藍委, referring to pan blue-camp lawmakers and a homophone for the Chinese word for appendix, 闌尾) from the legislature.

The group is an offshoot from the Sunflower movement, which in March and April occupied the legislature’s main chamber in Taipei to protest the KMT’s handling of the cross-strait service trade pact.

The other two legislators are Wu Yu-sheng (吳育昇) and Lin Hung-chih (林鴻池) from New Taipei City.

In a statement posted on Facebook yesterday, the Appendectomy Project urged the public to stand up for their right of recall as protected by the Constitution.

“We have met with lan wei forces. They have tried to raise the threshold number of signatures to recall lawmakers stipulated in the Civil Servants Election and Recall Act (公職人員選舉罷免法). We also met people from the Ministry of the Interior and the Control Yuan, which have both found fault with us over fundraising,” the group said.

Even the judiciary mounted opposition to the public’s right to recall, as the initiators of the Constitution 133 Alliance face charges of forgery, the group added.

The alliance was initiated in August last year to recall Wu, but failed to gather enough signatures before a February deadline.

“[Despite the difficulties], with the recruitment and mobilization of about 150 volunteers, we have been able to stump for signatures in the streets more than 200 times over the past three months,” the statement said.

The Appendectomy Project expects the threshold to propose recall petitions against Wu and another against Lin to be met shortly.

They said that 1.45 percent of Wu’s constituency — 4,264 people in the first district of New Taipei City — have supported the drive with signatures, or 565 short of the threshold, while 1.73 percent of Lin’s constituency — 3,675 people in Banciao District (板橋) — have signed the petition, meaning 625 more are needed to fulfill the requirement.

Asked for a response yesterday, Tsai said: “Congratulations to them. They finally know where they can spend the money they have raised.”

Tsai, who serves as KMT Taipei mayoral candidate Sean Lien’s (連勝文) campaign manager, said that he was not interested in things beyond his duties as a lawmaker and campaign-related affairs.

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