TAIPEI (Taiwan News) – Three Democratic Progressive Party leaders and one Nobel laureate addressed a public letter to President Tsai Ing-Wen on Jan. 3 urging her not to seek re-election in the 2020 presidential election.
Citing the electoral defeat of their party in the recent nine-in-one elections, the public letter by prominent DPP leaders urges Tsai not to seek re-election, and also further asks her to relinquish administrative powers of the Executive Yuan to the Premier, implying concern that Tsai may be abusing the powers of executive office.
The letter, published on the front page print edition of the Liberty Times newspaper, was signed by current Presidential Office advisers Wu Li-pei (吳澧培) who is 84, Presbyterian Reverend Chun-Ming Kao (高俊明) who is 89, and the former President of Academia Sinica, 82 year old Lee Yuan-tseh (李遠哲), who was Taiwan's first Nobel prize winner, but who is not a DPP member. A former senior presidential advisor Peng Ming-min (彭明敏), who is 95 years old, also signed the letter.
There is currently speculation as to whether current Premier William Lai (賴清德) will soon leave office in an anticipated cabinet reshuffle at the start of the year. The DPP leaders advise President Tsai to allow the person in the office of Premier to select the Executive Yuan’s next Ministerial cabinet, citing Article 53 of the government’s constitution.
According to the constitution, the President of Taiwan still maintains the power of appointing the Premier.
Beyond advising her not to seek re-election and to take a backseat in the running of the administration, the DPP leaders also urge the President to support an expansion of the powers of the Executive Yuan and the Legislative Yuan in order to safeguard the country against foreign threats.
The public letter, which amounts to questioning Tsai’s competency in the role of President, comes a day after Chinese leader Xi Jinping re-emphasized China’s aim of annexing Taiwan, through force if necessary, to which President Tsai immediately responded that Taiwan will never accept a “one country, two systems” framework proposed by Beijing.
The four DPP leaders claim in their letter that the powers of government must be expanded for national security purposes and new measures to that effect should be quickly enacted, while the DPP still maintain a majority in the Legislative Yuan.
The tone of the letter is one of urgency, imploring Tsai to prepare the way for a strong leader to take the reins of power in 2020, while showing solidarity with the party and the people of Taiwan to boost morale ahead of this year's election campaign.
The letter seems to suggest that should Tsai seek re-election, the DPP party may support a candidate to challenge her.
Edit: The original title of this article referred to the four signatories as "Prominent DPP leaders," this has been changed to "DPP senior voices" to more accurately reflect their position in relation to current DPP leadership.