Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) members and supporters appeared to be divided over the party’s plan to initiate an impeachment of President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九), arguing over what took precedence: holding Ma accountable for his actions or the consequences of the proposal backfiring.
DPP Chairman Su Tseng-chang (蘇貞昌) on Saturday unveiled the party’s plan to counteract what it sees as Ma’s sabotaging of the Constitution by pursuing a political vendetta against Legislative Speaker Wang Jin-pyng (王金平) in the form of allegations that Wang was complicit in illegal lobbying.
The announcement drew mixed reactions, with those opposed the plan saying that the initiative would not only fail due to the high threshold of impeaching a president, but could also reverse Ma’s plummeting popularity by making the issue a competition between the pan-blue and the pan-green camps, which would work in the president’s favor.
The DPP’s reason for launching the initiative was to uphold constitutional governance, which has always been one of the party’s most important core values, and because Ma had infringed on the legislature’s powers and the separation of powers to further his personal agenda of removing the legislative speaker, DPP spokesperson Wang Min-sheng (王閔生) said yesterday.
“In this critical juncture — a historical moment in Taiwan’s democratic development — [the DPP] will insist on doing what it thinks is right, regardless of political calculations,” he said.
Wang Min-sheng said the DPP could not afford to stay on the sidelines since Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) “supporters would not appreciate it, the independent voters would not approve of inaction and DPP supporters would likely think that the party has failed to meet their expectations.”
DPP Legislator Tsai Chi-chang (蔡其昌) said that initiating Ma’s impeachment, recall or a Cabinet motion of no-confidence “are all political maneuvers that would require sufficient political might to succeed,” otherwise such moves would only turn the issue into “blue versus green strife.”
DPP Legislator Lee Chun-yi (李俊俋) endorsed the initiative, saying that the DPP must “do what it preaches, forget about if [the measures] would succeed and stop worrying if the impeachment initiative would consolidate KMT support.”
According to the Act Governing the Legislative Yuan’s Power (立法院職權行使法), Ma would have to face the legislature and report to the plenary if an impeachment initiative passes the threshold by collecting the signatures of at least half of all legislators.
The opposition is as least 12 votes shy from meeting that threshold, which is why the DPP said it would instigate the proposal “at an appropriate time,” DPP Legislator Wu Ping-jui (吳秉叡) said, adding that “the most important goal of the initiative is to have Ma report to the legislature.”
DPP Central Executive Committee member Hung Chih-kune (洪智坤) urged Su to form an ad hoc panel, including former chairperson Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文), former premier Frank Hsieh (謝長廷) and caucus officials, to deal with the matter.