Sat, Aug 05, 2017 - Page 3 News List

Reform opponent to support recall

By Abraham Gerber  /  Staff reporter

National Civil Servant Association president Harry Lee (李來希) yesterday promised to throw his weight behind a move to recall New Power Party (NPP) Legislator Huang Kuo-chang (黃國昌) by people opposed to same-sex marriage, even as the latter expressed reservations about pursuing a closer alliance.

Lee urged people opposed to pension reform to participate in a recall rally this morning outside New Taipei City’s Sijhih Railway Station.

“NPP lawmakers only have empty ideas without real societal experience, advocating avant-garde and reckless legislation because they do not have a clear sense of the situation,” Lee said, citing as an example Huang’s support for same-sex marriage and an NPP-sponsored pension reform amendment allowing divorced spouses to claim a share of pension benefits.

“This would create payment difficulties, by leading to lawsuits after people retire. Because responsible agencies will not be able to determine the right proportion, they are likely to freeze contested payments, putting pressure on pensioners to let spouses take what they want,” he said.

The NPP’s version of pension reform legislation was more stringent than the version that was passed by the legislature, which exempts only near-minimum-wage pension payments from cuts.

Lee said he hoped to incorporate the Greater Taipei Stability Power Alliance campaigning for Huang’s recall in a plan to set up a political party for pensioners.

Leaders of the alliance are closely affiliated with the Faith and Hope League party, which unsuccessfully campaigned for legislative seats in last year’s election on a platform of opposing same-sex marriage.

Opponents of same-sex marriage have been seen on stage at rallies against pension reform, and pension reform opponents have also been observed participating in protests against same-sex marriage.

Both opposition movements share a relatively older and conservative support base, and feel sidelined by the media and government decisionmakers, who they often accuse of collusion to undermine the legitimacy of their voices and concerns.

“Because we do not want to be identified with any political color, we have not invited any political figures to take the stage, and we have politely declined Lee’s offer to attend to show his support,” Greater Taipei Stability Power Alliance chairman Sun Chi-cheng (孫繼正) said, while adding that there might be room for cooperation in mobilizing voters if a formal recall vote is called.

“Now that there is no longer any point for pension reform opponents to protest against the government, Huang is the only immediate pressure point for venting their anger, and we look favorably on that, just as we do for actions by any political party — but we will not allow them to take the stage and lead,” he said.

The petitioners claim to have already exceeded the petition signature threshold for calling such a vote and plan to submit the petitions to the Central Election Commission on Aug. 21.

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