DPP mulling boycott of debate on trade accord

By Chris Wang  /  Staff reporter

Wed, Sep 11, 2013 - Page 3

The Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) is mulling whether to pull out of a scheduled debate between party Chairman Su Tseng-chang (蘇貞昌) and President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) on Sunday amid intensified controversy over allegations of influence peddling.

“We are still evaluating the situation before making a final decision,” DPP spokesperson Wang Min-sheng (王閔生) said yesterday.

The debate, to be televised by the Public Television Service, will be about the cross-strait service trade pact signed in June.

There has been widespread public concern about the negative impact caused by a potential influx of Chinese investment and workers.

Several DPP members raised concerns about the necessity of the debate since Legislative Speaker Wang Jin-pyng (王金平), former minister of justice Tseng Yung-fu (曾勇夫) and DPP caucus convener Ker Chien-ming (柯建銘) were accused of involvement in influence peddling by the Special Investigation Division on Friday. The allegations have created a political storm within the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT).

Hung Chih-kune (洪智坤), a member of the DPP’s Central Executive Committee, said the party should withdraw from the debate because Ma’s abuse of the state apparatus, in particular the judiciary, as a political tool and his ignorance of the nation’s democratic system have made the debate unnecessary.

The DPP should launch a non-cooperative movement by withdrawing from the debate, shutting down communication channels between the two parties, suspending administrative measures authorized by the central government in DPP-governed counties and cities, as well as beginning to work with civic groups on a civil disobedience movement, Huang said.

However, DPP Legislator Tuan Yi-kang (段宜康) said the party should seize the opportunity to question Ma on the constitutional crisis that he has created and on democratic principles.