DPP chair withdraws from televised debate with Ma
By Katherine Wei, The China PostTAIPEI, Taiwan -- Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Chairman Su Tseng-chang (蘇貞昌) yesterday withdrew from a cross-strait service trade pact debate that was scheduled to be held between himself and President Ma Ying-jeou.
September 12, 2013, 12:12 am TWN
Several hours after Su claimed the debate would still be held on Sept. 15, DPP spokesman Wang Min-sheng (王閔生) held a press conference and informed the media of Su's withdrawal.
Opposing voices were reportedly heard within the party over the debate following Legislative Yuan Speaker Wang Jin-pyng's dismissal from the Kuomintang (KMT).
Early yesterday morning Ma expressed disappointment in Wang's involvement in allegedly illegal lobbying to get DPP caucus whip Ker Chien-ming (柯建銘) off the hook in a corruption case.
Ma stressed that Wang was no longer fit to rule the Legislative Yuan and that he should resign voluntarily.
Not three hours after Ma spoke, the KMT's Party Disciplinary Committee (PDC) ruled that Wang be stripped of his membership for “disgracing the party.”
“Ma publicly abused judicial law to settle his grudge with the leader of the Legislature. He is no longer rational; the timing is not appropriate for the debate, which is of lesser importance and calls for more rationality,” said Wang Min-sheng.
The DPP called on Ma to put a stop to the political conflict that it said he has been causing.
Following reports from local media outlets that Ma had pressured the PDC into making its ultimate decision, the DPP too voiced similar concerns.
“Regarding the cross-strait trade pact, Ma should respect the Legislative Yuan's duties in reviewing and voting on the pact before it can be implemented, instead of pressuring the Legislature into passing it like he did to the PDC,” said Wang Min-sheng.
“The chairman had been preparing for the debate carefully, but the current situation leaves no room for a reasonable debate.”
Su Accused of Cowardice
In response to Su's withdrawal from the debate, Presidential Office spokesman Lo Chih-chiang (羅智強) said that Su needn't excuse himself for being battle-shy.
“It is unnecessary for Su to use the current political situation as a reason to back out. The public has been expecting the debate; it is irresponsible for him to use simple political excuses to shirk his duties. All it takes is for him to admit he doesn't want to participate,” said Lo. “If this is the DPP's attitude regarding the debate, then it is possible that there will be no debate at all.”