Ex-President Ma launches harsh attack on Tsai ahead of KMT primary decision

Ma calls DPP administration 'worse than Hong Kong's government,' accuses Tsai of trapping Taiwan in 'unfree democracy'

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Ma Ying-jeou addresses 'Distance between Taiwan and Democracy' forum in Taipei, July 14

Ma Ying-jeou addresses 'Distance between Taiwan and Democracy' forum in Taipei, July 14 (By Central News Agency)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) – Former President Ma Ying-Jeou (馬英九) on Sunday (July 14) gave a keynote address at a seminar hosted by the Fair Winds Foundation on the topic of the “Distance between Taiwan and Democracy” (台灣與民主的距離研討會).

In his keynote address, Ma railed at the Tsai administration, claiming it is “worse than the Hong Kong government,” and characterized the Democratic Progressive Party’s (DPP) governance as “trapping Taiwan in an unfree democracy.”

The former president especially criticized the Transitional Justice Commission (TJC) and the Ill-Gotten Party Assets Settlement Committee, claiming that they were designed as political tools used to damage the reputation of the Kuomintang (KMT).

Ma’s keynote and political attacks on the Tsai administration and the DPP comes just one day ahead of the KMT’s announcement of primary polling results.The announcement on Monday (July 15) should provide a clear indication of the party’s nominee to challenge incumbent Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) in the upcoming Presidential election.

In his speech, Ma called the TJC and the Ill-Gotten Party Assets review “unconstitutional,” and accused the investigators of operating outside the bounds of the law under a “presumption of guilt” mentality. Ma blasted the DPP administration as ineffective, negligent, and arrogant in his speech, which was published by UDN.

In the address, Ma said the president has been unable to make meaningful judicial reforms, while also accusing the president of interfering with the independent judiciary. He also emphasized the ongoing controversy over the referendum legislation.

The former president brazenly asserts that the DPP has employed “hypocrisy and deception” to effectively suppress Taiwan’s democracy. He closed his address by extolling “people who love Taiwan’s democracy” to “bring order out of the chaos” and to put Taiwan back on the right track by voting Tsai out of power.

As the KMT prepares to mobilize their party members and supporters behind a single candidate, and with Tsai’s popularity rising as a result of the social strife in Hong Kong, promoting closer ties with China under a “One Country, Two Systems” framework is looking less and less like a winning campaign strategy.

Ma’s keynote address on Sunday is a strong indication of the message that the KMT is planning to adopt going into the presidential race. The strategy is to paint Tsai Ing-wen and the DPP as a new tyrannical power and a threat to democracy reminiscent of the previous authoritarian rule of the KMT itself.