Former Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) chairmen Hsu Hsin-liang (許信良) and Shih Ming-te (施明德) and former Veterans Affairs Commission minister Hu Chen-pu (胡鎮埔) yesterday issued a joint statement calling on President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) and the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) to stop their “political purge” and legal action against Legislative Speaker Wang Jin-pyng (王金平).
Pointing to the revocation of Wang’s KMT membership last week, which many said was the result of the so-called “September political strife,” the trio said in the statement that the incident constituted a purge orchestrated by Ma against the legislative speaker.
“First, we would like to express our gratitude to the three female judges at the Taipei District Court, whose bravery, wisdom and legal expertise helped hit the brakes of a speeding ‘political bus’ that is heading over a cliff,” the statement said.
“However, the bus has yet to be completely stopped as its driver [Ma] is still fuzzy-headed. At such a critical moment, the passengers on the bus will only put themselves in an even more dangerous situation if they start fighting against each other,” the statement said.
The trio was referring to the judges who ruled in favor of Wang’s provisional injunction seeking to retain his party membership and position as head of the legislature on Friday.
Wang filed the provisional injunction on Wednesday, shortly after his KMT membership was revoked by the party’s Central Evaluation and Discipline Committee over alleged illegal lobbying for DPP caucus whip Ker Chien-ming (柯建銘).
Every far-sighted Taiwanese share the same concern that the country is too vulnerable for internal friction and division, the statement said, but that concern had become widespread because of the political strife.
“Because only the doer of an action can undo what he has done, we urge Ma and the KMT to halt the political purge and stop further legal actions [against Wang] before it is too late,” the statement said.
The statement singled out two others that it said should also be held accountable for the turmoil caused by the incident: Prosecutor-General Huang Shih-ming (黃世銘) and Central Election Commission Chairperson Chang Po-ya (張博雅).
Huang, who reportedly brought the alleged illegal lobbying case to the president several days before it was made public by the Special Investigation Division, had forsaken his principles and duties by attempting to turn the division into a tool for the Ma administration to restore authoritarian rule, the statement said.
“He is guilty of reprehensible misconduct and deserves severe punishment,” it added.
The statement said Chang had clearly succumbed to pressure from the KMT because not only did she strip Wang of his status as a KMT legislator-at-large without conforming to standard procedures, but she also delivered the relevant documents to the legislature at an “unreasonable” speed.
“Chang’s handling of the case has undermined the dignity of her job and she should take political and moral responsibility for her conduct,” the statement said.
The statement said that to protect legislative speakers from political intimidation and interference, it planned to propose a bill at the new legislative session, which opens today, to ensure the constitutional principle that the legislative speakers’ role must be neutral and impartial was strictly adhered to.
Saying that only a self-disciplined legislature can earn people’s trust and effectively fulfill its functions of making laws and checking and balancing the power of the administrative branch, the statement urged the legislature’s Discipline Committee to set up a cross-party taskforce to probe the alleged illegal lobbying.
It also called on lawmakers to draw up an amendment to Article 73 of the Civil Servants Election And Recall Act (公職人員選舉罷免法), which stipulates that legislators-at-large lose their status as legislators the moment they lose their party membership.
Turning to other major issues, the statement said the trio felt the need to express their stance on the controversy surrounding the Fourth Nuclear Power Plant and the cross-strait service trade pact after seeing how Ma’s poor governance had deprived people of hope.
“It has been a national consensus that the construction of the nuclear power plant must be halted immediately… We solemnly urge the Ma administration to prioritize and pass a motion seeking to cease the plant’s construction,” the statement said.
As for the cross-strait agreement, the statement called on the opposition parties to adopt a rational mindset and focus on the overall and long-term interests of the country when deliberating on the pact.