Sat, Oct 14, 2006 - Page 1 News List

Second presidential recall motion fails

REJECTED AGAIN As predicted, the latest bid by the opposition to oust the president failed to garner enough votes, leaving the pan-blue camp to ponder its next move

By Flora Wang and Shih Hsiu-chuan  /  STAFF REPORTERS

President Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁) yesterday survived a second recall motion initiated by the opposition after it garnered only 116 affirmative votes -- less than the two-thirds majority required for the motion to pass -- in the legislature.

Shortly after the vote ended, People First Party (PFP) Chairman James Soong (宋楚瑜) held a press conference at the legislature and said his party would propose a no-confidence measure against Premier Su Tseng-chang (蘇貞昌) and his Cabinet next Friday and "would not stop until the president dismisses the legislature."

Yesterday's recall vote saw 116 affirmative votes, one negative vote and 13 invalid votes.

Pan-blue legislators from the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) and the PFP all voted in favor of the motion except for KMT Legislator Chang Chang-tsai (張昌財) and the PFP's Nelson Ku (顧崇廉), who were both absent.

Democratic Progressive Party legislators (DPP) boycotted the vote while legislators from the DPP's political ally, the Taiwan Solidarity Union (TSU), cast invalid ballots.

Six out of the eight Non-Partisan Solidarity Union (NPSU) legislators voted, but NPSU Legislator Chen Chin-ting (陳進丁) surprised everyone by casting an invalid ballot.

Independent Legislator Lin Chin-hsing (林進興), who was expelled from the DPP, cast the only negative vote.

The failure of the motion was expected as only 130 lawmakers arrived to claim their ballots yesterday morning.

TSU lawmakers shouted "Down with the second recall motion" and wrote the phrase on their ballots before voting, while pan-blue legislators chanted "National referendum on A-Bian's [the president's nickname] future."

After the vote, DPP caucus whip Ker Chien-ming (柯建銘) held a press conference and said "the most ridiculous farce in history has finally ended."

The DPP caucus hoped the legislature would now start reviewing bills that concern people's livelihoods and stop the political wrangling, Ker said.

Up to 30 bills were still pending review by the Procedural Committee, he added.

DPP Chairman Yu Shyi-kun said in a separate press conference that the party respected the opposition's decision and that the DPP would review its approach.

He urged KMT Chairman Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) to stop "turning a blind eye to KMT legislators' attempts to paralyze the legislature."

In response to the PFP's proposed next move, DPP Deputy Secretary-General Tsai Huang-liang (蔡煌瑯) said "political unrest will continue if [the PFP] initiates a no-confidence vote."

If the Cabinet were toppled, the DPP would suggest that the president dismiss the legislature and hold legislative elections, Tsai said.

In accordance with the Constitution, 72 hours after any no-confidence motion is made, an open-ballot vote must be held within 48 hours.

Should more than one-half of the total number of lawmakers -- 111 votes -- approve the motion, the premier must tender his resignation within 10 days, and at the same time may request that the president dissolve the legislature.

Should the no-confidence motion fail, the legislature may not initiate another no-confidence motion against the premier within a year.

The motion was signed by 76 lawmakers -- 22 from the PFP, 47 from the KMT, six from the NPSU, and an independent, passing the one-third threshold, or 74 seats, needed to propose it.

Soong said that once a new legislature was convened, the first priority would be to bring another recall motion against the president.

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