Sat, Nov 04, 2000 - Page 1 News List

Recall drive stalls but opposition says effort is not dead

By Lin Mei-chun  /  STAFF REPORTER

The move to recall President Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁) stalled yesterday as a wide range of external factors made it impossible for opposition party lawmakers to move the motion forward.

Severe damage islandwide in the wake of Typhoon Xangsane, the Singapore Airlines crash and protesters demonstrating about the Fourth Nuclear Power Plant, prevented the legislature from addressing the recall, lawmakers said.

In the end, the bills which would need to be passed before the president could be recalled were postponed until next Tuesday.

The two laws scheduled to be reviewed next Tuesday are the Law Governing Legislators' Exercise of Power and amendments to the Presidential and Vice Presidential Election and Recall Law (總統副總統選舉罷免法).

As rumors circulated that the postponement represented a display of goodwill to the president on the part of the opposition parties, lawmakers from those opposition parties were united in their effort to scotch any such suggestions, stressing that their determination to recall Chen remained intact.

"Efforts to push for the recall motion [against the president] will be continued," said KMT Legislator Ting Shou-chung (丁守中), the initiator of the petition, adding that he was about to garner up to 149 signatures, the minimum figure required to pass the recall motion. He said the case would be presented in a timely manner within 20 days.

KMT caucus whip Tseng Yung-chuan (曾永權) also emphasized that opposition parties' determination to recall the president had never been shaken. He said that the KMT was saving its energy at present in order to release its full might when the time was ripe.

KMT Legislator Chen Horng-chi (陳鴻基), said that yesterday's move was not meant to display any friendliness toward the president, but rather that the agreement was reached for the benefit of the entire country in the wake of the typhoon's battering the country and the crash of a Singapore Airlines jumbo jet.

DPP lawmakers did not take yesterday's change of the legislative agenda as a cause for optimism. But a DPP lawmaker told the Taipei Times that rumors of divided views within the opposition parties were not groundless.

"KMT lawmakers told me that the move would be slowed down in a bid to stabilize the country's political climate. They said it was true that the timing of the announcement [of cessation of construction of the power plant] indeed left plenty of room for discussion, but that that was not solid enough grounds for a president to be recalled," said DPP lawmaker Chen Chi-mai (陳其邁).

"They [KMT legislators] said they did not endorse the recall motion voluntarily .... They were under pressure from the party. They also told me that if the president would exhibit any amity toward opposition parties, they would consider putting the motion aside temporarily," Chen said.

Another primary reason for yesterday's change of agenda, according to Chen, was the KMT authorities' displeasure at seeing the alliance formed between KMT Chairman Lien Chan (連戰) and PFP Chairman James Soong (宋楚瑜).

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