Chen’s abuse of power has set back democratic achievements: Lien

The China Post staff and CNA

Kuomintang chairman Lien Chan yesterday lashed out at President Chen Shui-bian, saying that the new president’s abuse of power and disrespect to the legislature has severely set back Taiwan’s democratic achievements.

“You can find no other country being run this way,” said Lien. Lien made the remarks at an occasion commemorating the birth of Republic of China’s founder Sun Yat-sen, and a day after a high-profile meeting with leaders of two other opposition parties. The opposition coalition avowed unity in a joint push to oust Chen at the meeting.

“President Chen is single-mindedly pursuing his goal of becoming Taiwan’s ‘grand president,’ and has neglected the rule of the constitution and trampled the legislative branch,” said Lien, who lost the presidency to Chen in March’s election.

The former vice president added that such arrogance will eventually erode Taiwan’s economic miracle.

Lien urged Chen to respect the legislative majority—the KMT—instead of trying to turn himself into an all-powerful president.

He said Chen is ruling the country as if he were the head of a presidential government, which is not the case.

Saying that no country in the world can allow the president to abuse his executive power and trample all over the parliament, Lien lamented that the Democratic Progressive Party government has violated the spirit of a dual-executive government system which it previously agreed to.

Under the system, the president should respect the opinion of the legislative majority when appointing the premier, and that the Cabinet should be held accountable to the legislature.

According to Lien, Taiwan’s constitution stipulates that, if the president and the majority party at the legislature belong to the same party, then the president will enjoy more power.

In the contrary, if the president and the legislative party belong to different parties, then the administrative branch—the president and the premier—should heed opinion of the legislative majority in making any decisions, Lien added.

Lien said that Taiwan’s hard-earned democracy has set an example for democratization of developing countries, and hence should be cherished.

“Nonetheless, democratization could be reversed easily if the leader cares for his vested interests more than the well-being of the country,” he said.

Lien urged the over 1,000 people attending the commemoration to unite and “protect the Constitution to save Taiwan.”