Tue, Nov 07, 2000 - Page 1 News List

KMT hints at coalition government

UNIMPRESSED While claiming the president's apology to Lien Chan on Sunday missed the point, the KMT may be willing to work with Chen to form a coalition government

By Lin Mei-chun  /  STAFF REPORTER

The KMT hinted yesterday that a possible solution to end the push to recall President Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁) would be the establishment of a coalition government.

Opposition lawmakers, nonetheless, denied the president's apology on Sunday had damaged their attempt to recall the president.

Following a 20-minute long telephone conversation with Chen yesterday, the speaker of the Legislative Yuan and KMT member Wang Jin-pyng (王金平) said that the key to defusing the current political crisis was whether or not the president respects the constitutional system.

Wang would not comment further, but other sources in the KMT suggested that abiding by a semi-presidential system (雙首長制) was the solution.

While the ROC Constitution has been amended numerous times over the past decade, some amendments were left ambiguous. Currently Taiwan's government is stuck somewhere in between a cabinet system and a presidential system.

Because of this and the KMT's control of a majority of seats in the legislature, it is difficult for the ruling party to call the shots without being stopped at nearly every move along the way by the opposition.

The move to recall Chen has been the latest manifestation of that power and ambiguity. Now, it appears that the possible formation of a coalition could be a way out of the current political crisis.

KMT and independent lawmakers agreed with such a suggestion, adding that a recall would be unnecessary if agreements could be made between the DPP and the opposition.

"If President Chen can respect the spirit of the Constitution to follow the semi-presidential system; in other words, if he [Chen] esteems the power of the majority in the legislature and agrees to form a coalition government with us [the KMT], there is no need at all for us to insist on the recall going ahead," said KMT lawmaker Shyu Jong-hsyong (徐中雄), a member of the Generation-E Alliance (e世代問政聯盟), a KMT faction within the legislature.

Independent Legislator Lo Fu-chu (羅福助) also petitioned the president to follow the semi-presidential system and establish a coalition government with opposition lawmakers.

In a bid to quell growing dissatisfaction with his administration and its decision to stop the Fourth Nuclear Power Plant (核四廠), Chen apologized to the nation and KMT Chairman Lien Chan (連戰) during a videotaped address broadcast on television on Sunday evening.

Chen said he should take full responsibility for the problem resulting from the announcement's timing.

Lawmakers said that the apology was missing the point.

PFP Legislator Diane Lee (李慶安) aid she felt the president was being sincere when he apologized, however, Chen failed to provide any concrete measures concerning how to end the disputes.

Opposition lawmakers said that the agenda scheduled for today's legislative session -- to review two laws so as to facilitate the recall, including the Law Governing Legislators' Exercise of Power (立法院職權行使法) and amendments to the Presidential and Vice Presidential Election and Recall Law (總統副總統選舉罷免法) -- would remain unchanged. Passage of the two laws is needed before any recall motion can be initiated.

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