Wed, Apr 22, 2015 - Page 3 News List

Recall leaders question reform hearing shut-out

By Lii Wen  /  Staff reporter

The Appendectomy Project yesterday accused the government of excluding civic groups from participating in the reform of the Civil Servant Elections and Recall Act (公職人員選舉罷免法).

The Ministry of the Interior failed to invite several activist groups to speak at a public hearing scheduled for today, including groups that played a central role in past campaigns to recall legislators, a group spokesman said.

Today’s hearing is scheduled to discuss proposals, such as lowering the voter turnout threshold for recall referendums and lifting a ban on campaigning during recalls.

After receiving complaints last week, the ministry said that group members are welcome to attend the public hearing, provided that they speak only after the other participants finish.

Following a failed campaign to recall Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) Legislator Alex Tsai (蔡正元) that ended in February, the Appendectomy Project has made the reform of recall legislation its priority.

Appendectomy Project spokesman Lin Zu-yi (林祖儀), also known as “Mr Lin from Taipei (台北林先生),” questioned the attendance of representatives from the major political parties, as recall reform presents a conflict of interest for sitting legislators.

The Constitution 133 Alliance, which spearheaded a failed campaign to recall KMT Legislator Wu Yu-sheng (吳育昇) in 2013, agreed.

Alliance founder Neil Peng (馮光遠), who is running for legislator on the New Power Party ticket, said it was “unimaginable” that the main organizers of two high-profile campaigns were not invited to the public hearing.

Last week, the ministry said it intended to invite four civic groups to the hearing: Taiwan March, People Rule Foundation, the Appendectomy Project and the Constitution 133 Alliance.

The ministry said that the latter two groups had been omitted because they were not officially registered, adding that the government was unable to find contact information for unregistered groups.

Peng accused the ministry of neglecting its duties, saying that failure to find contact information is unacceptable.

“Situations like this lead us to question how much our public sector is slacking off. In light of the recent debacle concerned with military discipline, I must give Minister of the Interior Chen Wei-zen (陳威仁) a demerit,” Peng said.

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