Sat, Nov 04, 2006 - Page 1 News List

Pan-blue camp vows to oust the president, legally

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

Pan-green lawmakers yesterday may have reacted with shock to the indictment of first lady Wu Shu-jen (吳淑珍), but their pan-blue counterparts were gleeful, vowing to launch a third recall motion against President Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁), should he refuse to step down.

The pan-blues also demanded Premier Su Tseng-chang (蘇貞昌) and his Cabinet's resignation because the premier was designated by the president.

"It's a day of infamy for the Republic of China ... We feel great sorrow and indignation," People First Party (PFP) Legislator Liu Wen-hsiung (劉文雄) told a press conference.

If Chen persisted in staying in his post, the ruling and opposition parties would be deadlocked from this point forward and could never reconcile, Liu said.

"If Chen has a sense of shame he should resign immediately," Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) Legislator Hung Hsiu-chu (洪秀柱) told a press conference.

After learning that Wu had been indicted, the Taiwan Solidarity Union (TSU) called a press conference, with chairman Shu Chin-chiang (蘇進強) saying that his party would throw its weight behind a third recall motion.

"The president should know that now it's time for him to leave office," Shu said.

TSU Legislator Lo Chih-ming (羅志明) said the party cast unmarked ballots during the last two recall votes because it couldn't vouch for Chen's integrity.

A recall or an impeachment motion requires the backing of two-thirds of all sitting legislators to pass. As only 220 seats are currently filled in the 225-seat Legislative Yuan, that means 147 legislators would have to back a recall or impeachment for it to pass.

If all 90 KMT lawmakers, 22 PFP lawmakers and 12 TSU lawmakers voted in favor of a recall or impeachment, they would still need 23 votes.

The Non-Partisan Solidarity Union's eight lawmakers generally vote with the pan-blue parties. Among the three independent lawmakers, Li Ao (李敖) often vote with the pan-blue parties. The other two are former DPP members,they generally vote with the DPP.

Therefore, a minimum of 12 of the 85 Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) legislators would also have to back a recall or impeachment motion in order for it to pass.

Passage of an impeachment motion then requires approval from the Council of Grand Justices to dismiss the president, while passage of a recall motion would initiate a public referendum on whether Chen should step down.

The public referendum requires a simple majority of all voters who cast ballots to approve the dismissal of the president.

KMT response

After an impromptu Central Standing Committee meeting to discuss the issue last night, Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) Chairman Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) said if Chen did not step down within the next 48 hours, the KMT caucus would propose a recall motion against Chen on Monday, put the proposal on the legislative agenda on Tuesday, put the proposal before a legislative review on Nov. 10 and finally vote on the motion on Nov. 25.

Ma added that the party had not ruled out impeaching the president.

In a separate press conference yesterday, Ma called on the DPP, as the ruling party, to take the initiative and to demand that the president offer his resignation.

"The ruling party should put its house in order and show some self-reflection. The DPP should not miss the historic timing. It should bravely take responsibility and urge the president to step down," he added.

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