Thu, Jun 08, 2006 - Page 1 News List

KMT agrees to support caucus' presidential recall

By Mo Yan-chih and Shih Hsiu-chuan  /  STAFF REPORTERS

The Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) yesterday approved its caucus' proposal to support a presidential recall motion, with party Chairman Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) appealing for cross-party and cross-ethnicity support for a campaign to oust President Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁).

"The recall motion is not a confrontation between the pan-blue and pan-green camps, but a battle between integrity and corruption. History will judge the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) if it refuses to take the public's side [in the matter]," Ma said during a Central Standing Committee meeting at KMT headquarters.

Speaking in Mandarin, Taiwanese, Hakka and the Aboriginal Amis language, Ma attacked Chen's credibility on issues including cross-strait relations and the economy, accused the first family and the Chao family of creating a "corrupt and rotten" government, and urged the public to "recall the president together."

"I've urged President Chen to offer his resignation on numerous occasions, but apparently he is reluctant to leave his post. Top DPP officials, rather than remonstrating with him, advocate strengthening his authority. Should we allow Taiwan to idle for the next two years?" Ma said.

Ma had previously said that he wanted to wait for the first couple to be implicated directly in the scandals to which they have been linked before seeking Chen's ouster. But Ma said that the president's refusal to step down voluntarily had prompted him to agree to support a recall motion.

"If he doesn't step down, those scandals will be left unsettled. If he doesn't step down, Taiwan can't be revived," he said.

The purpose of the recall motion, Ma said, was to push for Chen's voluntary resignation. He called on the public to join the party's nationwide signature drive to demand that the president resign, while urging DPP legislators to forsake party loyalty for righteousness by not blocking the recall motion.

"Even former president Lee Teng-hui (李登輝) agreed that the president should step down if he failed to do his job. DPP legislators should not block the motion. We need to give the public a chance to vote on it," he said.

The KMT hopes to garner support for its recall motion and a possible move to dismiss the Cabinet by holding a rally in Kaohsiung this Saturday.

Meanwhile, the recall motion, which the KMT and People First Party (PFP) caucuses proposed to the legislature on May 31, has gained 113 signatures, more than half of the current 221 seats in the legislature.

The KMT caucus held a meeting yesterday, where 59 legislators unanimously agreed to put the recall motion up for review in an extraordinary session, which might be held on June 13 at the earliest.

"If the recall motion fails, we should need to push for the Cabinet to be dismissed and prepare for redistricting," said Tseng Yung-chuan (曾永權), executive director of the KMT's policy coordination department.

The recall motion was based on Article 44 of the Law Governing Legislators' Exercise of Power (立法院職權行使法), which stipulates that the legislature is obliged to review the motion within 15 days once the motion is put on the legislative agenda.

In accordance with the law, the president can choose to respond to the recall motion seven days before it is reviewed.

The consent of two-thirds of the legislature, or 148 members, is required to send the recall motion to the voters for approval.

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