Sat, May 27, 2006 - Page 1 News List

Soong, Ma divided on recalling Chen

GO OR ELSE The PFP chairman gave Chen Shui-bian the choice between resignation or a recall motion, but the KMT chairman remained unsupportive of the proposal

By Mo Yan-chih  /  STAFF REPORTER

People First Party (PFP) Chair-man James Soong (宋楚瑜) yesterday urged the president to resign in order to facilitate judicial investigations into the corruption scandals involving government officials and his son-in-law.

If President Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁) refuses to step down, the PFP would initiate a motion to recall the president, Soong said.

"The recent corruption scandals are too numerous to mention. Chen Shui-bian has already lost his credibility and is therefore unable to exercise his authority effectively," Soong said at a press conference held at the Legislative Yuan.

"Taiwan is now in anarchy ... Chen should resign immediately and give up his immunity to help facilitate any judicial investigations," Soong said.

Accompanied by PFP legislators, Soong said if Chen refused to resign, then impeachment was "the only feasible measure" to safeguard the foundation of Taiwan's democracy. Both the ruling and opposition parties should work together to solve the issue because "Chen Shui-bian doesn't represent the Democratic Progressive Party [DPP]," he said.

To seek consensus, Soong said the PFP would contact other political leaders, including Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) Chairman Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九), DPP Chairman Yu Shyi-kun, Taiwan Solidarity Union Chairman Shu Chin-chiang (蘇進強), Legislative Yuan Speaker Wang Jin-pyng (王金平) and Premier Su Tseng-chang (蘇貞昌), to arrange an "emergency summit" to discuss measures that would stabilize the country.

Soong also took the opportunity to criticize Ma's refusal to endorse the recall motion that has been proposed by some KMT legislators.

"If the opposition parties respond passively to government corruption and ignore their responsibility, how can they meet the expectations of the public?" he said.

He later visited Shu and was to meet with Ma at KMT headquarters late last night.

Soong's proposal, however, received a negative responses from his KMT counterpart.

"We cannot justify recalling President Chen, because he is not involved in these scandals... Proposing his impeachment now would only force the DPP to protect its king and turn a judicial case into a war among the political parties," Ma said yesterday.

Faced with the pleas of several KMT Taipei City councilors as well as party legislators to back a recall of the president, Ma reiterated his opposition to such a move saying the priority for the KMT was to monitor the judicial authorities in their bid to uncover the truth.

Although Ma said he had asked the KMT to conduct an opinion poll on the impeachment issue to see how the public felt about the matter, he insisted that the party should not propose impeachment for the time being.

Prior to their meeting last night, Ma said he was willing to discuss the issue and any other topics with Soong, but said he would stand firm in his opposition to the move.

In response to Soong's proposal, Wang said he "respected" Soong's opinion.

Despite Ma's disapproval, KMT Legislator Ting Shou-chung (丁守中) said yesterday that he would not give up on his attempt to recall the president.

Ting launched a similar drive after the president decided to scrap the National Unification Council and its guidelines in February.

Such a motion would need the approval of two-thirds of the legislature to be put to a popular vote.

As the DPP holds more than one-third of the seats in the legislature, any motion is unlikely to succeed.

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