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June 27, 2017

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DPP, TSU move to impeach Ma

The Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) and the Taiwan Solidarity Union (TSU, 台聯) yesterday submitted a legislative motion to impeach President Ma Ying-jeou, even as DPP caucus whip Ker Chien-ming (柯建銘) said that even if the motion doesn't pass it should deliver a "sharp wake-up call" to the president.

The motion is set for deliberation today in the Legislature's Procedure Committee.

At the Legislative Yuan yesterday, Ker said the constitution sets the impeachment threshold "extremely high," granting the president protection to do "whatever he pleases."

According to the Constitution of the Republic of China, a motion to impeach the president must be supported by one-quarter of the Legislative Yuan before it can be initiated. The motion, however, must receive the support of two-thirds of the Legislature before it proceeds to a popular referendum. At least 50 percent of the public must then support the referendum for the president to be successfully impeached.

Reasons

The motion supplies some 10 reasons for impeaching the president.

These include his "undercutting national sovereignty," "incompetent disaster relief," "inability to negotiate," "sacrifice of the people's health," "ignorance of public distress," "robbery of the poor for the rich," and the "worsening of the Taiwan job market."

Ma's policies have completely departed from public opinion, so raising the motion is a "very correct move," said TSU caucus convener Hsu Chun-hsin (許忠信) with the DPP caucus yesterday.

Hsu said the TSU is also set to propose an amendment to Article 70 of the Presidential and Vice Presidential Election and Recall Act (總統副總統選舉罷免法), which protects a president from impeachment before he has served a full year of a term.

The TSU amendment would render a second-term president exempt from the immunity, making Ma impeachable within the first year of his second term.

The amendment seeks to prevent "a president from raising the price of everything" just after re-entering office and "triggering an economic downturn," according to Hsu.

He added that if the amendment does not pass, the TSU will initiate impeachment again immediately after Ma completes the first year of his second term.

Motion 'regrettable': KMT

The Kuomintang (KMT) caucus yesterday called the pan-green move extremely regrettable.

There are only a few days left in Ma's first term, and less than one month remaining before the Legislative Yuan recesses, said Deputy Secretary-General Wu Yu-sheng (吳育昇) of the KMT caucus.

As the motion's timing makes approval implausible, the TSU and the DPP are "being deliberately disruptive" to legislative proceedings.

"It's extremely regrettable," he said. "On Tuesday, the KMT caucus will use the most responsible method of discussing and expressing its position."

Questioned separately, People First Party (PFP, 親民黨) convener Thomas Lee (李桐豪) also said that the motion's practical significance "is in fact not great."

Lee said his party has not cosigned the motion, but that the PFP takes seriously its oversight of Ma's second term.

If the president and his Cabinet continue to defy public opinion, the PFP will move to recall both, he said.

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