Hot-headed opposition still angry at presidential defeat

The China Post news staff

One suspects that Jerome A. Cohen, an 81-year-old jurisprudence scholar on the faculty of the New York University School of Law, was trying to be polite when he said earlier this week that President Ma Ying-jeou, a former student of his, “has the toughest job in Taiwan” because “the country has an extremely divided society as well as an intelligent but critical electorate.” But the country’s top job is made difficult perhaps not by an intelligent but critical electorate, but by the opposition which, as made plain for all to see by recent developments in the country, are such bad losers. Less than a week before Ma is sworn into office to begin his second term on May 20, Tsai Ing-wen, the former chairwoman of the opposition the Democratic Progressive Party who also ran for president, let loose a tirade against Ma in an open letter published on Facebook. In her letter, Tsai challenged Ma to answer such questions as “whether or not Taiwan is a country, or a state, whether China and Taiwan are an identical country, or state, and whether or not future interactions between the two sides across the Taiwan Strait will be governed by the ‘one country, two areas’ principle.”

And then she claimed that the people are “boiling with anger” over the government’s “decision to allow the import of U.S. beef and hikes in electricity rates and prices of oil products,” calling for a major Cabinet reshuffle and accusing Ma of “abusing his power,” “possibly backtracking to authoritarianism,” “smearing his critics,” and “engineering false public opinion.” Tsai, an academic-turned-politician, however, failed to substantiate her claims. As such, her language was no different from that of a populist provocateur. Her failure to offer any constructive suggestions, not to mention the acrimony so typical of her comments on anything remotely related to the president since she lost her presidential bid, simply makes one suspect that it may take her a long time to lick her wounds. And then, of course, Tsai conveniently failed to remember that Edward Chen, the former chairman of Taipower Corp., who must take blame for the electricity rates hikes, was appointed when the DPP was in power.

As if acting in sync with Tsai, Ker Chien-ming, the DPP legislative caucus convener, announced in a press conference yesterday that his party had teamed up with the Taiwan Solidarity Union (TSU) in officially pushing for the recall of Ma, citing the president’s recent 15-percent approval rating.

According to Ker, lawmakers from his party and fellow travelers from the TSU will submit a bill to the Legislature’s procedures committee today. Ker, however, did not specify whether the president he would like to see recalled is the president whose first term in office has less than a week to go or the president-elect who won his new mandate last January but who is not sworn in yet. One wonders if it makes sense to try and recall a president whose term expires in a few days or one who has yet begin a new term. Ker simply and conveniently did not delve into what the Constitution of the Republic of China says about this.

The timing of this waste of taxpayers’ money bespeaks an intention to rain on the parade of the winner of the keys to the Presidential Office. According to Cohen, one of President Ma’s top priorities in the next four years is to “deepen Taiwan’s democracy, improve its quality, and bring its legal system to perfection.” Cohen’s suggestions are extremely insightful, as evidenced by the green-camp’s moves and mouthings. Much, indeed, remains to be done as far as the development of democracy in this country is concerned. President Ma’s job is really tough. Or is the recent scorching hot temperature to blame for people losing their heads?