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Opposition to mount impeachment effort bid vs Ma
Publication Date : 15-09-2013
The Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) has decided to launch campaigns to oust President Ma Ying-jeou over his attempt to remove Legislative Speaker Wang Jin-pyng from his position.
DPP Chairman Su Tseng-chang said yesterday that the party will have its deputies to the Legislature mount a bid to impeach Ma for allegedly abusing his authority and interfering with parliamentary affairs.
Former Vice President Annette Lu said she will also organise a civic campaign for the recall of Ma.
But Lin Hung-chih, head of the ruling Kuomintang's (KMT) Central Policy Committee, described the DPP campaigns as a power struggle.
Ma has accused Wang of peddling influence to let DPP whip Ker Chien-ming off the hook in a lawsuit. Ma had the KMT attempt to expel Wang, who occupies an at-large legislative seat assigned him by the party.
Wang would have lost his legislative seat — and his speakership — because of expulsion from the party, had he not obtained a court injunction that has suspended the disciplinary action.
While Ma has maintained that he is defending the rule of law, the DPP has claimed that his action against Wang has created a constitutional crisis.
Su, addressing a DPP forum, claimed the president overstepped his authority by interfering with a judicial investigation into Wang's alleged influence peddling and the operations of the Legislature in order to have the speaker removed.
A feasible action to stop Ma from abusing his power is to have the Legislature impeach the president, Su said.
The launch of an impeachment proposal will need the endorsement of half of the Legislature, and the impeachment will pass with support from two-thirds of all lawmakers.
As the impeachment vote will be conducted by secret ballot, Su said it will allow KMT lawmakers to exercise their free will.
He also urged Wang to support the campaign because it is more important for him, as the speaker, to defend the Legislature's integrity than to show his loyalty to the KMT.
He called on all political parties to support the impeachment campaign.
Former Vice President Annette Lu, also of the DPP, called for a civic action to recall Ma, saying that her campaign against Ma will go side by side with the Legislature's impeachment bid. She also urged all parties to join her campaign.
But some DPP leaders expressed concerns that such campaigns may backfire.
While the ongoing row between Ma and Wang is threatening to split the KMT, a shift of the target may see the KMT unite against the DPP, said former Premier Yu Shyi-kun.
An open conflict between the KMT and DPP will “save” Ma, said Yu.
Former Premier Frank Hsieh also said it will be undesirable to turn the controversy into a conflict between the KMT and DPP. He added it is very difficult for such campaigns to succeed.
Currently, the DPP only has 40 seats in the 112-seat Legislature, which means the lawmakers from the main opposition party will need support from some KMT lawmakers in order to launch the impeachment proposal.
Lin, who heads the KMT's Central Policy Committee that oversees the party's lawmakers, said the DPP will not obtain enough votes for the bid. KMT lawmakers will “definitely unite” against the DPP, he maintained.
He maintained that Ma has done nothing wrong, and it is ridiculous for the DPP to mount a “power struggle” against the president.
According to the constitution, if the Legislature passes an impeachment against a president, the case will be forwarded to the Council of Grand Justices. If the grand justices uphold the lawmakers' decision, the president will be relieved from office.