The Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) and the Taiwan Solidarity Union (TSU) said yesterday they would propose a no-confidence vote against the Cabinet today in an extra legislative session.
“We think that now is the best time, particularly amid the [former Executive Yuan secretary-general] Lin Yi-shih (林益世) scandal, to propose the vote, as Premier Sean Chen (陳冲) and his Cabinet have been a total failure and Chen is nothing more than President Ma Ying-jeou’s (馬英九) puppet,” DPP caucus whip Ker Chien-ming (柯建銘) told a press conference. “Something dramatic has to be done to bring the country back on the right track, which is why we will propose the motion.”
The DPP caucus decided to launch the motion after a three-hour caucus meeting yesterday morning.
TSU caucus whip Hsu Chung-hsin (許忠信) said Chen had his hands tied behind his back because Ma took all matters into his own hands.
The Act Governing the Exercise of Rights of the Legislative Yuan (立法院職權行使法) stipulates the legislature may propose a no-confidence vote against the premier after collecting the signatures of more than one-third of the total number of legislators. The motion is deemed passed if at least half the lawmakers vote for it.
With a total of 43 seats, the DPP and the TSU should have no problem surpassing the threshold.
The tricky part would be whether there is enough time left for the lawmakers to vote on the motion even if the proposal is put to the vote.
According to Article 3 of the Additional Articles of the Constitution, 72 hours after a no-confidence motion is made, an open-ballot vote must be taken within 48 hours. Should more than one-half of the total number of Legislative Yuan members approve the motion, the premier must tender his resignation within 10 days.
The extra session is scheduled to run from today through Friday, but the 72-hour deadline would likely fall on Saturday morning.
Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) Policy Committee chief Lin Hung-chih (林鴻池) said the motion of no confidence would not be dealt with in the extra session, because it was being held to deliberate on “specific items” and the items for the session’s agenda had been agreed upon at an informal meeting yesterday morning, and confirmed at a meeting of the Procedure Committee at noon.
Based on the Organic Act of the Legislative Yuan (立法院組織法), Lin said, the DPP might need to launch another extraordinary session to vote on a no-confidence motion, because the motion was not on the agreed upon agenda for this week’s session.
Legislative Speaker Wang Jin-pyng (王金平) also said it would be difficult to squeeze the no-confidence motion onto the agenda because all the legislative agenda items for the three-day extra session have been determined. He also said the DPP could launch a petition and demand another extra session, but that motion would have to be determined by a plenary vote.
DPP Legislator Lee Chun-yi (李俊俋) said the no-confidence motion is a constitutional issue, which is different from other bills and should not be seen as a legislative agenda item.
“Speaker Wang is obligated to handle the proceedings once the motion is submitted,” Lee said.
Executive Yuan spokesperson Hu Yu-wei (胡幼偉) said that tabling a motion of no confidence at a time when the impact of the rapidly changing global economy on the nation was of great concern to the public was a “political move” and would hurt the country’s economic development.
“This is not the first time the DPP has talked about a no-confidence vote” since Chen was designated premier, Hu said, “and every time a bid has been made, we [the Executive Yuan] receive comments from the public that we should not get embroiled in political rows.”
“The country has long been trapped in a politics of struggle and internal bickering” that has “caused dissipation,” Hu said.
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