Wed, Oct 04, 2006 - Page 1 News List

Chen spurns recall drive

SLAP IN THE FACE The Presidential Office has announced that Chen will not issue a rebuttal statement directly to the legislature

By Ko Shu-ling and Shih Hsiu-chuan  /  STAFF REPORTERS

President Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁) will not issue a statement to the legislature on the second recall motion, which is to be put to the vote on Oct. 13.

Presidential Office spokesman David Lee (李南陽) confirmed yesterday that the president will follow the same strategy he did in June when the first recall motion was proposed.

When the pan-blue alliance proposed its recall motion in June, Chen declined to issue a rebuttal statement directly to the legislature, but responded in a public address to the nation.

Chen is not obliged to respond to a recall motion.

The Law Governing Legisla-tors' Exercise of Power (立法院職權行使法) stipulates that one quarter of lawmakers must agree on a recall proposal before it can proceed to the legislature's Procedure Committee.

While no discussion is needed, the legislature must complete the review of the proposal 15 days after the proposal is placed on the legislative agenda. The legislature must notify the government official threatened with a recall to present a written rebuttal seven days before the review. The legislature can still proceed to discuss the case if the official in question refuses to comply.

The consent of two-thirds of lawmakers must be obtained to pass the proposal.

The recall motion must then be put to a referendum and the approval of more than half of all eligible voters must be obtained for it to pass.

Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Chairman Yu Shyi-kun on Monday night invited Presidential Office Secretary-General Mark Chen (陳唐山) and DPP caucus whip Ker Chien-ming (柯建銘) to the DPP headquarters to discuss how to respond to the opposition-initiated second recall motion.

The three agreed to recommend that President Chen not issue a statement to defend himself and that DPP lawmakers not attend the review process nor cast their votes.

In a related development, Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) lawmakers yesterday suspended their efforts to push through their versions of motions to recall President Chen.

KMT Legislator Tsai Chin-lung (蔡錦隆), one of the initiators of the party's two versions of the recall motion, said the suspension meant that the party had put its plans for a third recall motion on hold.

But DPP legislators condemned the move as hypocritical.

"As the second recall motion sponsored by the People First Party (PFP) will be put to the vote next Friday, it means nothing for the KMT to put its own recall motions on hold," DPP Legislator Kuan Bi-ling (管碧玲) said.

KMT Policy Coordination Department Executive Director Tseng Yung-chuan (曾永權) said in the procedural committee yesterday that the party would still support the PFP's version of the recall motion.

The procedural committee had its first meeting of the new session yesterday.

Long-stalled bills pertaining to a budget for arms purchases from the US, a review of the president's nominations for the Control Yuan and the position of state public prosecutor-general, and many non-political bills concerned with people's livelihoods were all blocked once more.

According to the committee, about 50 bills sponsored by the Executive Yuan, the DPP and the Taiwan Solidarity Union failed to be put onto the legislative agenda.

"Don't we have bills which are more important than the recall motion to review? A recall motion failed three months ago. Is President Chen a different person from who he was three months ago?" DPP Legislator Wang Shih-cheng (王世堅) bellowed at pan-blue lawmakers.

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