Ma lets loose in campaign to drag Wang from Legislature
The China Post news staffWith their necks craned to see a clear winner — unscathed or limping — emerge from September's political strife, many locals regard the Ma-Wang row as a juicy piece of gossip and some a joke. So far, President Ma Ying-jeou is looking pitiful; his determination to remove Legislative Yuan Speaker Wang Jin-pyng has backfired in the form of the lowest approval rating he has scored in his five years in office and in the history of surveys on political leaders — a meager 9.2 percent.
September 18, 2013, 12:11 am TWN
Fuming and waiting for a counter-appeal to be filed against Wang's temporary victory in retaining his position of nearly 14 years, Ma's best bet is for Wang to embarrass himself in the opening of the Legislative Yuan's second session today, a wager that depends on Wang's amiable temperament. The KMT caucus has listed three possible outcomes regarding Premier Jiang Yi-huah's scheduled report and the reaction of the opposition party caucus, hoping to catch Wang off-guard. Democratic Progressive Party legislators will either consent to Jiang making his regular report, resort to physical grappling to stop Jiang from taking the rostrum or simply barricade him from the meeting chamber. If Wang refrains from taking sides in the session as he has before, or if proves unable to settle the quarrels, the KMT can frame him as being unfit for his position and as attempting to humiliate Jiang along with the DPP. But if Wang settles conflict smoothly, the ruling party could step in and neatly take Wang's accomplishment from him, as well as accuse him of fraternizing with the enemy and thus dye the speaker green.
With the session looming, Ma — already mocked as the “emperor” of Taiwan for his obstinate ways — has decided to test his powers once more, this time on the two pre-session luncheons he regularly holds with the KMT legislators. The party's legislators were broken into seven groups to dine with Ma, as the president wished to glean their opinions on the recent dispute with Wang. The attendance rate of the luncheons has been decreasing over the years, with several legislators voicing uneasiness over the lunches. This shows that Ma has been less successful in instilling his thoughts in his legislators than he was in affecting the KMT's decision in stripping Wang of his membership.
The caucus whips may plan with respect to Ma's wishes and his now not-so-veiled distaste for Wang, but the KMT legislators hold the key in determining which of the three anticipated results will surface in the session today.
Sailing into his second and final term as president, Ma is no longer perturbed by future presidential elections and this condition has made him a reckless political leader — fully demonstrated by his brutality in driving Wang out of the KMT.
Wang's courteous, tactful responses to Ma's fiery accusations about his involvement in a lobbying case surprised those who were unfamiliar with the Legislative Yuan speaker's diplomatic ways, and earned the respect of those who did. Many are wont to look at Ma with fresh disgust as he continuously rejects Wang's good will and respect, also denying the speaker his right to attend party meetings. Wang, it seems, has lost his reverence for Ma after the president's attitude had dropped a few degrees as the speaker succeeded in retaining his position.
The fact that a political leader, much less the president of a democracy, would try to rid his party of an experienced leader with such vehemence and thinly disguised brutality is at the same time baffling and clear-cut to his people: he is beyond caring about his once-bookish, well-mannered ways.