Taiwan Opposition to Host March Against Ma Government on Sunday

Taiwan’s opposition party expects 100,000 people to participate in a planned Jan. 13 protest against President Ma Ying-jeou’s administration.

The opposition is also demanding that Premier Sean Chen be held accountable for the island’s weak economy and step down, said Jason Lin, spokesman of the Democratic Progressive Party by phone today.

Ma’s approval rating has fallen to 13 percent since his re-election last January with 52 percent of the popular vote, according to a December poll by Taipei-based television network, TVBS. The International Monetary Fund estimates Taiwan’s economy grew at a rate of 1.3 percent in 2012, the slowest pace since the 2009 global recession.

Protesters will also call for regulators, including the Fair Trade Commission and the National Communications Commission, to block the sale of Kong-listed Next Media Ltd.’s Taiwan assets to prevent a monopoly, Lin said. A group of companies plans to buy Next Media Taiwan print and television units for a total NT$17.5 billion ($602 million).

Tsai Shao-Chung, president of Want Want Chinatimes Group, which publishes the China Times and the Commercial Times, is among the buyers.

Fiscal changes and reforms to the island’s social welfare system are also among the the DPP’s concerns. Ma said on Nov. 21 that the island’s aging population is straining its welfare and pension system and that the government would review reform proposals by this month.

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