The Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) and the Taiwan Solidarity Union (TSU) yesterday accepted letters of commitment submitted by a citizens’ alliance that is seeking to recall incompetent legislators, especially those who prioritize partisan interests over those of the public.
However, the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) caucus refused to meet with Neil Peng (馮光遠), an award-winning screenwriter and author, and one of the founders of the newly established Constitution 133 Alliance.
“This movement is trying to write a new page on the history of democracy in Taiwan and to let lawmakers understand that democracy does not only mean an election every four years,” Peng told reporters before meeting the caucuses at the legislature in Taipei.
Article 133 of the Constitution states that “an elected official may be recalled by his constituency.”
The alliance said it was established with the aim of recalling lawmakers who ignored their mandate, in particular those who align themselves with President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) and the KMT.
The alliance asked political parties to distribute letters of commitment to their legislators and ask them to sign the letters containing four pledges.
The four pledges are: opposing the construction of the Fourth Nuclear Power Plant in Gongliao District (貢寮), New Taipei City (新北市) and a referendum on the issue; vetoing the cross-strait service trade agreement and demanding that the Ma administration reopen negotiations; amending the Land Expropriation Act (土地徵收條例); and promising to prioritize public opinion over Ma’s orders.
Lawmakers who fail to send the letters back to the alliance by Friday evening would be listed as candidates for the recall campaign, Peng said.
Acknowledging the difficulty of recalling a lawmaker, Peng said the campaign only seeks to highlight that “there is a countermeasure to those who violate the public mandate.”
Recalling a legislator requires the support of at least 2 percent of the total number of voters in the lawmaker’s electoral district for the bid to be legitimate. If the proposal is accepted, it must be followed by a petition supported by a minimum 13 percent of the electorate. The motion must then be approved by more than half of the electorate.
Peng added that the campaign would not target only KMT lawmakers.
DPP caucus director-general Gao Jyh-peng (高志鵬) said the party supports the alliance’s cause and guaranteed that all 40 DPP lawmakers would sign the letters.
The TSU caucus also met with Peng and voiced support, with caucus whip Hsu Chung-hsin (許忠信) saying that the party held “an even more hawkish position” on the service trade pact, which it believes should be annulled.