ASIA NEWS NETWORK
WE KNOW ASIA BETTER
Taiwan opposition unveils plan to recall President Ma
Publication Date : 14-01-2013
Opposition leader pledges to recall "the incompetent president" and "anti-reform legislators" amid a record-scale party protest in Taipei
The major opposition party in Taiwan is prepared to launch a recall motion against President Ma Ying-jeou, said the party chairman late yesterday.
The Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) staged its “Fury” protest yesterday to voice opposition to recent government policies. Marchers embarked from Taipei City Hall and ended at the Presidential Office, where DPP heavyweights rallied the crowd.
Chairman Su Tseng-chang announced two new party goals: changing policy through the Legislature, and replacing the “anti-reform regime.”
“We are going to recall the incompetent president, and we are going to recall anti-reform legislators,” said Su, the rally's last speaker.
“Anyone who goes against the interest of the people, who blocks reform, who protects the big financial interests — all of these people are going to be replaced,” he said.
In response to the protesters' demands, Presidential Office spokesman Fan Chiang Tai-chi said that demonstrations should not merely reflect public sentiments but should also offer constructive opinions.
In her address to the crowd, former DPP Chairwoman Tsai Ing-wen apologised for her defeat in the 2012 presidential election, which she said has led to public misery.
Earlier in the procession, Tsai had walked at the vanguard with Su and other party heavyweights Chen Chu, Annette Lu, Frank Hsieh and Yu Shyi-kun.
Attendance at the “Fury” protest set a new party record yesterday, according to police and party sources.
Just before the procession embarked, DPP spokesman Lin Yu-chang said he expected a turnout of 100,000 participants, or twice the number directly mobilised through the party system.
Later, DPP Deputy Secretary-General Lee Chun-yee announced that the actual turnout had reached 150,000 people.
The Taipei City Police Department reported a more modest 93,000 participants, but the figure still hits a new high.
Last year, the DPP's large-scale protest on May 19 had neared just 38,000 participants.
According to the DPP, marchers were lodging three demands: a Cabinet reshuffle to revitalise the economy, a rejection of the merger case between Next Media and Want Want and the opening of a national affairs conference.
But the march saw myriad other demands.
Some 50 local business owners clamoured for the resignation of Taipei City Mayor Hau Lung-bin, on account of his alleged mismanagement of Shida Night Market.
The Hualon Corp. Union made an appearance to request government help claiming their back wages.
Women who called themselves the “No Money for Marriage Team” turned heads with their wedding garb and empty strollers.
“It's not that women don't want babies. They don't dare to have them,” said Chen Ying of the DPP's Department of Women's Development.
Some in the procession took pains to distance themselves from the party line.
“Politicians in any party mostly just put on a show,” said a Taipei resident surnamed Cheng. “I'm here for myself, not the DPP.”
One Kaohsiung native surnamed Chen waved a placard that read “Ma Ying-jeou: incompetent; Kuomintang: heartless; Democratic Progressive Party: powerless.” He said he marched solely for the medical parole of former President Chen Shui-bian.
Early in the evening rally, one man rushed the stage and called for the release of the incarcerated ex-president. He was removed swiftly by party security.