The second motion to recall President Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁) was put onto the legislative agenda yesterday, but a new weapons procurement budget totaling NT$6.3 billion (US$197 million), a revision from the special arms procurement budget blocked since June 2004, was excluded.
The recall motion was proposed by the People First Party (PFP). The Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) will announce its version of the motion later today.
KMT Chairman Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) vowed to push for a recall when he attended the party's legislative caucus meeting in the legislature yesterday.
"It's time to give back the right of referendum to the people. To back the recall motion is to make the referendum procedurally possible, not to depose Chen," he said.
Premier Su Tseng-chang (蘇貞昌) called Ma irresponsible for pushing for a recall drive just a few months after the pan-blue camp failed to get two-thirds of the legislature to support the first recall motion in June.
"It is disrespectful to the Constitution to have a second recall motion. Recalling the president is not child's play. You can't just file a recall motion every few months," Su told KMT Legislator Ho Chih-hui (何智輝) during a question-and-answer session on the legislative floor yesterday.
In response to Ma's comment that the pan-green camp should approve the recall motion so that the public can have a referendum on Chen's competence, the premier said that doing so would only create instability.
The pan-blue dominated Procedure Committee put the PFP recall motion on the agenda.
The legislature will set the recall vote in motion if the proposal passes its first reading on Friday.
During the committee meeting, pan-green legislators lashed out at their pan-blue counterparts, saying that they only cared about "political struggle," referring to their boycotts of other bills.
"We replaced the special arms procurement budget worth NT$480 billion with a new NT$6.3 billion arms bill in this legislative session, but the new version was still rejected," Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Legislator Chen Chin-jun (陳景峻) said.
Taiwan Solidarity Union (TSU) Legislator Ho Min-hao (何敏豪) cast doubt on Ma's defense of referendums after a TSU proposal to amend the Referendum Law (公投法) was rejected by pan-blue lawmakers.
"The amendment is to reduce the threshold for holding a referendum. If you think that referendum is important, why did you exclude the bill from the agenda?" Ho asked.
DPP legislators said Ma's support for a second recall motion was grandstanding.
DPP Legislator Hsu Kuo-yung (徐國勇) said it was not necessary for Ma to write each pan-green lawmaker a letter asking for his or her backing.
"I didn't open the letter," he said. "It would be a waste of my time."
DPP Legislator Wang Shih-cheng (王世堅) said he could not make out what Ma was driving at in his letter.
"I personally respect Mayor Ma, but I plan to throw the letter in the trash can," he said.
Nothing had changed since the legislature voted down the first recall motion, Wang said.
"I have no idea why they want to file the second recall motion now. Can't they wait until the judicial inquiry is complete?" he asked.
Instead of wasting time on a recall motion, Wang said Ma should switch his focus to the KMT's stolen assets.
Wang said the KMT intended to sell a 5,000-ping (18,000m2) plot of land in Banciao this week. Wang said that the public assessment of the land was more than NT$1.2 billion (US$37 million) but the KMT might sell it for NT$8 billion.