Sun, Jun 25, 2006 - Page 8 News List

Will DPP dismiss the legislature?

By LiangWen-chieh 梁文傑

Everyone knows that the pan-blue camp's motion to recall President Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁) is merely the warm-up act. The real show-stopper will be the pan-blues' vote of no confidence in the Cabinet that may be called in September.

The objectives of such a vote would be two-fold: To vent pan-blue supporters' anger in the likely event that the recall bill falls flat on its face, and bring down Premier Su Tseng-chang (蘇貞昌) -- at present the only potential presidential candidate to pose a threat to Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) Chairman Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) -- restore balance and incite a power struggle among the four major figures of the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) -- namely Su, Vice President Annette Lu (呂秀蓮), former Premier Frank Hsieh (謝長廷), and DPP Chairman Yu Shyi-kun.

The more the DPP is in disarray, the less its members will be able to put on the facade of unity to single out their best presidential candidate. Under such circumstances, Ma would have a better chance of winning the upcoming presidential elections.

Even though kicking Su out of office would be an illegitimate move, pan-blue supporters believe that regardless of what they do to maintain Ma's lead in opinion polls, Ma will still enjoy greater gain than loss.

In contrast to the KMT, the DPP seems to rest its faith on chance. The DPP's thinking is that as long as it keeps reminding the KMT of its intent to dismiss the legislature if push comes to shove, the pan-blues will not dare to overstep their bounds.

The idea is that all legislators are opposed to premature legislative elections, and especially that KMT legislators whose chances of winning re-election are slim will oppose it to the bitter end. It is also thought that southern legislators are not necessarily willing to dance to the tune of those based in northern Taiwan.

Furthermore, the fact that People First Party (PFP) legislators would be further disadvantaged under the single-member district system all but guarantees that they will not risk pushing the envelope too much.

Such thinking contains at least three blind spots:

First, as long as the recall motion can sustain sufficient momentum, the KMT will be able to exert pressure on each legislator who decides to oppose the recall. Even the PFP, which first stoked the public outrage that lead to the motion's launch, does not dare to offend the KMT.

Also, PFP Chairman James Soong (宋楚瑜) may end up forsaking his party's legislators' interests in favor of his own campaign in the year-end Taipei mayoral election. These considerations may be the basis for Soong's statement that "if the presidential recall cannot be carried out, then toppling the Cabinet will be considered."

Second, given the KMT's flexible nomination system, it will not be difficult for the party to nominate legislators in each district prior to a vote of no confidence in the Cabinet. Additionally, Ma can use the rewards that a future presidency would make possible as an incentive when coordinating pan-blue legislators.

The KMT's current agenda is reportedly to give priority to nominating incumbent legislators, and placing those who are not nominated in a district on the legislator-at-large list. If this holds true, then the 73 single-seat districts and the 32 legislators-at-large seats would be sufficient to accommodate all 79 KMT legislative seats. That even leaves a few seats for negotiations with the PFP.

This story has been viewed 4008 times.

Comments will be moderated. Keep comments relevant to the article. Remarks containing abusive and obscene language, personal attacks of any kind or promotion will be removed and the user banned. Final decision will be at the discretion of the Taipei Times.

TOP top