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 (
"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 (
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 (
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 (
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.
After an impromptu Central Standing Committee meeting to discuss the issue last night, Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) Chairman Ma Ying-jeou (
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.
Declining to say what the KMT would do next, Ma said that it was the president and the DPP's time to act.
PFP Chairman James Soong (
Soong echoed Ma in urging the DPP to take the initiative and propose a recall motion against Chen.
"The DPP should apologize to the people with morality and courage, and demand that A-bian step down. It should also respond to public opinion by initiating a recall motion against Chen," Soong said during a press conference in the Legislative Yuan.
Soong also suggested that the ruling and opposition parties should hold a summit to seek a solution to the "current constitutional crisis." He also said that although the Constitution requires the vice president to succeed an ousted president, [vice president Annette] Lu [(
Soong said the PFP would first negotiate with the KMT, and would propose a recall motion against Chen if he refused to step down, with the possibility of also trying to impeach him.
Premier Su Tseng-chang (
KMT Legislator Huang Teh-fu (
"An indictment is not a decision that a suspect is guilty. Whether or not the president should resign is a problem we should talk about after judges reach their final verdict, not now," Su said.
Pan-blue lawmakers said the comment was "unacceptable."
"When [the first lady] Wu Shu-jen (
On the legislative floor, Su was faced with previous comments he made that "the president should resign if any of his family members or himself has been involved in any corruption-related scandal."
PFP Legislator Lu Hsueh-chang (
Su's comment had been made in response to KMT Legislator Pan Wei-kang (
Pan also asked Su "Do you agree whether Chen should resign if he or Wu are involved in the `state affairs fund' scandal?"
Su replied "That's right."
Yesterday, Su tried to downplay the comments.
"I can only say that my remarks were seriously twisted," he said.
The premier confirmed that he had met with President Chen Shui-bian (
The party is due to hold a large-scale rally this afternoon in Kaohsiung to urge Chen to step down followed by another tomorrow in Taipei.
Meanwhile, the campaign aimed at ousting Chen yesterday joined the opposition camp in condemning the president, urging Chen to step down immediately.
Returning to its protest site in front of the Taipei Railway Station at 7pm to celebrate the result of the investigation with protesters, campaign leader Shih Ming-teh (
"This is our history ... We want A-bian to step down immediately," Shih said yesterday.
Shih later led the protesters on a "walk" from the station to Ketagalan Boulevard.
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