Wed, Jan 17, 2001 - Page 1 News List

Opposition threatens to call no-confidence vote

INTERPRETATION The conflict between the executive and legislative branches over the Fourth Nuclear Power Plant looks set to continue, with the opposition trying to force the resumption of the plant's construction

By Stephanie Low  /  STAFF REPORTER

Despite Monday's ruling from the Council of Grand Justices that was intended to resolve the dispute over the Fourth Nuclear Power Plant (核四), fighting between the DPP and the opposition renewed yesterday, as did the possibility of a no-confidence vote against Premier Chang Chun-hsiung (張俊雄).

A main bone of contention is whether the plant's construction should resume before the Cabinet delivers to the Legislative Yuan a report on its intention to scrap the project.

The other issue is whether the Cabinet, after presenting its report, must comply with the legislature if it passes a resolution that may go against the Cabinet's wishes.

Opposition lawmakers insist that construction work must be resumed immediately, and have threatened to launch a no-confidence vote against Chang if he refuses to listen to the legislature.

"We won't allow the premier to disrespect the legislature, and we certainly don't rule out the possibility of raising a no-confidence vote against his Cabinet," said Cheng Yung-chin (鄭永金), the KMT legislative caucus whip.

Citing Monday's ruling to back up the point, Lai Shyh-bao (賴士葆), deputy convener of the New Party caucus, said the Cabinet's intention to halt the nuclear power plant involves a "major policy change." Therefore, Lai said, the Cabinet must deliver a report to the legislature beforehand and obtain the legislature's approval.

"The grand justices already made this point very clear. If the Executive Yuan still refuses to obey, it will be against the Constitution," Lai said.

Hwang Yih-jiau (黃義交), spokesman for the People First Party caucus, said the opposition parties are giving Chang an opportunity "to atone for his mistake."

"If he continues to violate the law, the legislature will look into his political responsibility," Hwang said.

Hwang said Monday's ruling pointed to "procedural flaws" in the Cabinet's October decision to scrap the plant, and so therefore the order is invalid because the process was unlawful.

Based on this logic, Hwang said construction work should be resumed immediately so as to restore the situation to "a lawful state."

Members of the DPP legislative caucus, however, said that it is unnecessary to resume construction work first, because the grand justices have not required the Executive Yuan to do so.

Chou Po-lun (周伯倫), DPP caucus convener, said the grand justices have stated that the Cabinet may carry out its plan to scrap the project if the plan obtains majority support from legislators.

"Before Premier Chang delivers his report to the legislature, the decision to halt the Fourth Nuclear Power Plant will remain valid," Chou said.

Legislative Yuan Speaker Wang Jin-pyng (王金平) yesterday predicted that the political struggle will continue unless the Cabinet is willing to show goodwill by announcing the resumption of construction work.

"The Executive Yuan acted like a thief in making a unilateral decision to discontinue the project. Before we can sit down to discuss the aftermath, we should ask the Executive Yuan to return what it has taken first, rather than allowing it to appropriate what it has stolen," Wang said.

Chen Horng-chi (陳鴻基), chairman of the Generation-E Alliance (e世代問政聯盟), a faction of KMT legislators, said procrastination over the project's resumption would create a good opportunity for the legislature to start a no-confidence vote against the premier.

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