Amid bitter divisions between the pan-blue and pan-green camps that have impeded the smooth running of the legislature, Taipei Mayor Hau Lung-bin (郝龍斌) said nobody would be able to effectively lead the nation unless the two camps reconcile and iron out their differences.
Hau, who is one of the few members of the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) to have spoken out against the administration of President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) and its oft-criticized policymaking, made the remarks in an interview with the Liberty Times (the Taipei Times’ sister newspaper) on Friday.
In a separate setting the same day, the 61-year-old mayor also urged Ma to let Premier Jiang Yi-huah (江宜樺) reshuffle the Cabinet and bring together a group of more “cooperative” ministers.
He also called on the government to give “serious thought” to dissolving the Special Investigation Division (SID) of the Supreme Prosecutors’ Office after the agency’s credibility has been called into question following its alleged abuse of a wiretapping investigating into a case involving Legislative Speaker Wang Jin-pyng (王金平).
The KMT later responded by saying the existence of the division was “necessary at present.”
Wang was accused of lobbying Taiwan High Prosecutors’ Office head prosecutor Chen Shou-huang (陳守煌) and former minister of justice Tseng Yung-fu (曾勇夫) to prevent an appeal in a breach of trust case involving Democratic Progressive Party caucus whip Ker Chien-ming (柯建銘).
Turning to the controversial cross-strait service trade agreement, which is still pending a review by the legislature, Hau said the government should reinforce its communication with the public and renegotiate with China on industries that have expressed strong opposition to the agreement, such as the printing and beauty salon industries.
“The government must put the parts of the treaty that the public is most concerned about on the table and delay their passage, while working to allow the parts that are beneficial to the nation to take effect at the earliest possible date,” Hau said.
Hau also called for cooperation between the pan-blue and pan-green camps on the agreement, saying that collaboration is the first step to reconciliation because it can help build mutual trust.
“If the two camps refuse to make peace with each other, no Taiwanese president will ever be able to govern this country,” Hau said.
Meanwhile, Hau’s close ties with former Taipei EasyCard Corp chairman Sean Lien (連勝文), who is deemed the most likely candidate to represent the KMT in the Taipei mayoral election next year, have become the center of attention as both camps gear up for the campaign.
Lien, the son of former vice president Lien Chan (連戰), currently serves as deputy convener of the Taipei City Economic Development Commission.
He was also among Hau’s delegation at the annual Taipei-Shanghai City Forum in Shanghai in July.
Asked if the Lien family’s cozy ties with business heavyweights and Beijing could take their toll on Sean Lien’s election bid, Hau said every candidate should be subjected to the most rigorous public scrutiny, whether they are running in party primaries or major elections.
“I believe that if any of the candidates have ever committed wrongdoing or have skeletons in their closets they will come to light eventually,” Hau said, adding that integrity and capability are essential qualities for a mayor.
Commenting on recent media reports that the KMT’s higher echelons have urged Sean Lien to move out of his apartment at The Palace (帝寶) — the most expensive residential complex in Taipei — if he is serious about running in the election, Hau said it was a person’s constitutionally guaranteed freedom to choose their place of residence.
“If [Sean] Lien does become a candidate, he should assess the matter’s potential impact on his election bid and decide of his own accord whether to move out of The Palace,” Hau said.
Both outgoing New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg and former US president John F. Kennedy were wealthy, Hau said.
“Being rich is not a sin, as long as one’s integrity and capability can withstand the test of time,” Hau said.