Motion against Cabinet is the ‘right’ step: academics

DISSOLUTION::The Taiwan Association of University Professors said that more urgent than a Cabinet reshuffle was dissolving the legislature, as it does not represent the public

By Chris Wang  /  Staff reporter

Mon, Oct 14, 2013 - Page 3

The no-confidence motion initiated by the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) and the Taiwan Solidarity Union against the Cabinet is the right thing to do not only because the latter has been incompetent and is involved in an ongoing political dispute, but also because the Legislative Yuan no longer represents mainstream public opinion, academics told a press conference yesterday.

Several professors from the Taiwan Association of University Professors (TAUP) called on the public and Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) legislators to support the motion, which is to be put to a vote tomorrow and which the professors said is “more of a constitutional issue than a competition between political parties.”

Citing the latest public opinion poll conducted by Taiwan Indicators Survey Research, which showed that Premier Jiang Yi-huah’s (江宜樺) approval rating was a dismal 15.8 percent, TAUP President Lu Chung-chin (呂忠津) said that Jiang “has lost the public’s trust and is unqualified for the post.”

The premier has played a major role in the current political turmoil — initiated by President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) through his attempt to remove Legislative Speaker Wang Jin-pyng (王金平) — and under him, the Cabinet has not only abused policing powers and human rights, but also signed the cross-strait service trade agreement without consulting the public, the association said.

As it would be difficult to impeach or recall the highly unpopular Ma under the current constitutional mechanisms, the only way to hold the president accountable for his actions is to force the premier — a de facto executive director under Ma in Taiwan’s semi-presidential system — to step down, National Chengchi University law professor Lin Chia-ho (林佳和) said.

Yet Huang Kuo-chang (黃國昌), a research fellow at Academia Sinica, said the opposition and the public should “forget about whether they will actually meet the high threshold” and also pursue the impeachment and recall options to hold Ma accountable for his performance.

The dissolution of the Legislative Yuan is more important than reshuffling the Cabinet, since the current legislature — in particular, the KMT lawmakers — has failed to represent the public, Huang said.

Asked what Taiwanese could do if all three constitutional options fail, Huang said that if Ma is still able to wield the legislative majority through his position as KMT chairman after next year’s by-elections, “then we cannot do anything about it. After all, this is what democracy is all about.”

“However, in the event that this happens, civil society should step in and take charge of the situation,” Huang said, adding that the public could demand amending the Referendum Act (公民投票法) and the Civil Servants Election And Recall Act (公職人員選舉罷免法) so that voters could take matters in their own hands.

National Taipei University assistant professor Chen Yao-hsiang (陳耀祥) warned the Ma administration about the consequences if the constitutional measures to bring down the government do not succeed.

“When people no longer perceive the government as legitimate, [and the constitutional mechanisms fail] they could exercise their right to resist and initiate a civil disobedience movement. That would be too much for Ma to handle in the remainder of his term,” Chen said.