Wed, Nov 08, 2006 - Page 1 News List

Third recall motion placed on agenda

LEGISLATIVE MANEUVERS The Procedure Committee passed the recall proposal as well as the nomination for top state prosecutor, but not a supplemental arms budget

By Shih Hsiu-chuan  /  STAFF REPORTER

A third recall motion against President Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁) was placed on the legislative agenda yesterday by the pan-blue camp in the wake of the first lady's indictment on corruption and forgery charges.

The Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) and Taiwan Solidarity Union (TSU) minority on the Procedure Committee failed to block the motion from being put on the agenda.

If the agenda is approved on the floor of the legislature on Friday, a vote on the motion would be scheduled for Nov. 24.

"Don't bother pushing for the motion as Chen has said that he would leave office if [his wife] were found guilty of corruption in the first trial," DPP Legislator Tsai Chi-fang (蔡啟芳) said during the committee meeting.

Pan-blue lawmakers, however, disregarded his opinion.

People First Party (PFP) Legislator Liu Wen-hsiung (劉文雄) urged the pan-green lawmakers not to miss another "historic moment" to give the people a chance to voice their opinion on first lady Wu Shu-jen's (吳淑珍) indictment.

A recall motion requires the backing of two-thirds of all sitting legislators to pass. Passage of the motion would initiate a national referendum on whether Chen should resign.

A simple majority of all voters who cast ballots would trigger the dismissal of the president.

The first two recall motions against Chen failed due to opposition from the pan-green camp. TSU lawmakers cast unmarked ballots while their DPP colleagues boycotted the votes.

The new push by the pan-blue camp to recall the president comes in the wake of the announcement by Taipei District prosecutors last Friday that Wu and three presidential aides would be indicted on various charges related to abuse of the president's "state affairs fund."

Prosecutors said they had collected evidence against Chen as well but could not indict him at this time because presidents enjoy legal immunity from prosecution while in office, except in cases of sedition.

After initially agreeing to back the third recall motion, the TSU on Monday reversed its stance after Chen's televised speech last Saturday rebutting the indictments.

DPP caucus whip Ker Chien-ming (柯建銘) said the caucus remains opposed to the recall bid. The caucus will meet to reach a consensus on the third recall motion before the legislature votes, he said.

DPP Legislator Lin Cho-shui (林濁水) told reporters yesterday that he is in favor of returning the decision-making power of the vote to legislators.

However, he said debate on the motion should be postponed until the investigations into other local government chiefs' special allowances have been completed.

DPP Legislator Hou Shui-sheng (侯水盛) said he approved of allowing DPP legislators to decide how they will vote on the motion themselves because this would show "who does not love the DPP."

DPP Legislator William Lai (賴清德) said he believed that once the party makes a resolution in its Central Standing Committee meeting today, DPP members would all follow its decision.

Meanwhile, the Procedure Committee voted yesterday to place the long-stalled bill for Chen's nomination for the nation's top prosecutor onto the legislative agenda.

The president has nominated Chen Tsung-ming (陳聰明), the chief prosecutor of the Taiwan High Court's Kaohsiung branch.

However, the long-stalled supplemental budget for partial funding of the purchase of the P-3C maritime patrol aircraft, the upgrading of PAC-2 anti-missile batteries, and the design of new submarines, as well as for building an airstrip on Taiping Island, was blocked again by pan-blue lawmakers.

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