President Chen Shui-bian's (
Tuesday was the last day Chen could make a formal rebuttal to the opposition-initiated recall motion. Instead of issuing a statement to the legislature, however, Chen decided to address the nation and respond to the opposition pan-blue camp's 10 accusations.
The accusations include corruption, abuse of power, obstruction of justice, suppression of the media, incompetent governance and violating the Constitution.
The legislature yesterday began the four-day review of the recall proposal and will vote on it on Tuesday.
The motion is considered unlikely to pass given the high threshold required -- it must win two-thirds support in the legislature before a nationwide referendum can be held.
Commenting on the president's address, Lee Yeau-tarn (李酉潭), an associate professor at National Chengchi University's Sun Yat-sen Graduate Institute of Social Sciences and Humanities, said Chen had shown sincerity in answering the accusations.
"It is impossible to make everybody in the pan-blue camp happy because their only agenda is to topple the government and win elections, especially the presidential election in 2008," he said.
On a scale from zero to 100, Lee said that he rated Chen's performance a 90.
As recalling the president is a poor option in a country with a presidential and semi-presidential system, Lee said that the pan-blue camp was abusing constitutional powers to achieve its goal of seizing power.
The pan-blue camp had hoped to set a constitutional precedent by having Chen offer an official rebuttal and by questioning officials at public hearings.
Chen Yen-hui (陳延輝), a professor at the Graduate Institute of Political Science at National Taiwan Normal University, expressed a similar view.
"I watched the president's televised public address from start to finish and found it very touching, especially when he said he was willing to sacrifice himself for democracy," he said. "Only a believer in peace and democracy would make such a remark."
Chen Yen-hui said the younger generation might not understand how politics operated and what life was like during the 50 years of KMT rule, but that a 60-year-old man like him, who had lived through the authoritarian era, knew exactly what the president was talking about in his speech.
"I'm afraid if we do not march forward down the road of democracy, we will be again governed by a dictatorial regime," he said.
On a scale from zero to 100, he rated President Chen's performance a 90.
However, Chen Yen-hui said there was still much room for improvement in terms of the administration's performance, although he recognized the dilemma the government faced at the legislature.
Ger Yeong-kuang (葛永光), a professor of political science at National Taiwan University, gave President Chen's address a low mark, saying that he had failed in three areas.
First, Ger said the president failed to reach the ultimate goal of effectively convincing the public and opposition parties that the 10 accusations made to justify the recall motion did not make sense.
In terms of the content of the speech, Ger said that the president failed to offer a clear account of the corruption scandals plaguing his family and in-laws.
"It gives the public the impression that the more he tries to explain the scandals, the more it is like he is trying to straighten out the contradictions of a lie with more lies," he said.
With regard to the strategy, Ger said that the president's use of Hoklo (also known as Taiwanese) in a public address was an apparent attempt to court pan-green supporters, most of whom are Hoklo native speakers.
"While the president claimed in his speech that he is a victim of ethnic persecution, his choice of the Hoklo dialect [sic] in fact deepens ethnic divisions," he said.
On a scale from zero to 100, Ger gave Chen a grade of 50.
A Taipei veterinarian is urging pet owners to avoid using insecticides around their homes, as their ingredients can be toxic to pets. Commercial-grade insecticides contain pyrethroids — organic compounds similar to natural pyrethrins, pesticides produced by flowers such as chrysanthemums — in quantities that are harmless to humans, but potentially fatal to cats and dogs, Asian Veterinary Specialist Referral Center veterinarian Chua Man-ling (蔡曼琳) said. Even in small quantities, pyrethroids are hazardous to cats, as they lack the metabolic enzymes needed to process them, Chua said. Cockroach sprays and ant traps are especially dangerous to pets as they contain boric acid, she
DOING ENOUGH? The HPA budgets NT$1.3 billion to prevent the health hazards of tobacco, but has no separate budget to fight teen drinking, a doctor said The government should step up alcohol education and prevention efforts, and allocate more of the budget to it, doctors said on Friday, citing the high consumption of alcohol among Taiwanese adolescents. One out of four 12-to-17-year-olds has consumed alcohol, said Yen Tsung-hai (顏宗海), director of Linkou Chang Gung Memorial Hospital’s Department of Clinical Toxicology. The Health Promotion Administration (HPA) budgets NT$1.3 billion (US$43.9 million) annually to prevent the health hazards of tobacco, but it has not allocated a separate budget for preventing teenage drinking or excessive alcohol use, Yen said. “There is no so-called ‘safe drinking level’ for minors,” because any amount consumed
The Fancy Frontier manga and anime expo held in Taipei over the weekend has sparked controversy, after a participant allegedly contravened the Act on Offenses Against Sexual Morality (妨害風化罪) by publicly exposing her private parts during a photo shoot. The two-day event opened at the Expo Dome at the Taipei Expo Park on Saturday, attracting numerous comic and anime creators, cosplayers, photographers and fans. Allegedly, a female cosplayer who was not wearing any underwear lifted up her skirt and revealed her private parts at an outdoor photography area near the venue. Event organizers said yesterday that to prevent indecent exposure, they have since
DREAMING OF TRAVEL: About 7,000 people applied for the experience, with about 60 chosen for the first flight yesterday, which includes boarding an airplane Starved of the travel experience during COVID-19? Taipei International Airport (Songshan airport) has the solution — a fake itinerary where you check in, go through passport control and security, and even board the aircraft. You just never leave. The airport yesterday began offering travelers the chance to do just that, with about 60 people eager to get going, albeit to nowhere. About 7,000 people applied to take part, with the winners chosen by random. More fake flight experiences are to take place in the coming weeks. “I really want to leave the country, but because of the pandemic, lots of flights cannot fly,”