Taiwan legislator proposes barring incumbent officials from running for other posts

Proposal met with mixed responses from blue and green political camps

Taipei Mayor Ko Wen-je (left) and Kaohsiung Mayor Han Kuo-yu (Taipei City and Kaohsiung City photos)

Taipei Mayor Ko Wen-je (left) and Kaohsiung Mayor Han Kuo-yu (Taipei City and Kaohsiung City photos)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) – Taiwanese legislator Hsu Yung-ming (徐永明) of the New Power Party said on Friday (Aug. 9) that he would propose amending laws to ban public office holders from running for other positions after the parliament reconvenes in September.

Hsu's proposal, which is aimed to bring about what he called “long-lasting stability to democracy in Taiwan,” has received a mixed reaction across the political spectrum on the island, reports the Central News Agency (CNA). The ruling Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) is open for discussion on the matter, while the opposition Kuomintang (KMT) has opposed the idea and vowed to prevent such a bill from being passed.

In a Facebook post, the politician and political scientist made the case for serving out one’s term in public office to fulfil his or her responsibility. In particular, he pointed to Kaohsiung Mayor Han Kuo-yu (韓國瑜), who has been nominated as the KMT presidential candidate and Taipei Mayor Ko Wen-je (柯文哲), chairman of the Taiwan People’s Party, who has not ruled out the possibility of launching a presidential bid for the 2020 election.

“Measures that keep public servants from campaigning for other positions must be established to ensure democratic stability for Taiwan,” Hsu argued.

Lee Chun-yi (李俊俋), a legislator and senior member of the DPP, believes there is room for debate about the issue, according to CNA. He has pointed out that the DPP used to bar party members who have not served at least half of their tenure from running in other elections, citing the controversy of election subsidies being granted to elected officials as one of its reasons.

KMT legislator Tseng Ming-chung (曾銘宗) has expressed disagreement over the proposed restrictions. He argues that it should be the right of public officials to run for other posts, which inevitably entails certain risks. Likewise, it is also the right of the people, as enshrined in democratic institutions, to decide whether to vote for such candidates, CNA quoted him as saying.