Premier Sean Chen (陳冲) yesterday solicited support from the public for his Cabinet’s strategies to revitalize the economy after he sailed through a no-confidence motion, which was voted down by the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) and two independent lawmakers.
“We need your support,” Chen said, in brief comments to reporters in front of the chamber of the legislative building after the vote.
Chen was flanked by Legislative Speaker Wang Jin-pyng (王金平) and a group of KMT lawmakers, who together chanted “Boost the economy. Salvage Taiwan. Sean Chen jia you [加油, an expression of encouragement]. Cabinet jia you. Taiwan jia you.”
Drawing on an old Chinese saying that it takes three years of painstaking effort to cure a seven-year-long disease, Chen said the Cabinet will work hard to improve the economy, “which has been sick for 20 years,” in the shortest possible time.
Chen said Taiwan’s export-oriented economy has some serious problems that the Cabinet would endeavor to resolve as soon as possible, adding that the economic revival includes plans to channel capital to strategic service sectors and speed up major infrastructure projects such as the Taoyuan Aerotropolis and port expansions in Keelung and Greater Kaohsiung.
However, to achieve those goals, the Cabinet would need the legislature’s support, he added.
He thanked the KMT lawmakers, who hold a 64-seat majority in the legislature, for voting against the no-confidence motion.
The motion was initiated by the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) and the Taiwan Solidarity Union (TSU) caucuses last week, and failed on a vote of 46 to 66, with the number of “yes” votes falling short of the required threshold of 57 votes.
“We regret that KMT lawmakers bowed to their party’s discipline to vote against the will of the people and cater to President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九),” DPP Legislator Pan Men-an (潘孟安) said.
Among the 112 lawmakers who cast ballots in the 113-seat legislature, the “yes” votes came from 39 DPP lawmakers, three TSU lawmakers, three People First Party (PFP) lawmakers and independent Legislator Yen Ching-piao (顏清標).
Yen said he “mistakenly” voted in favor of the motion and felt sorry about it.
“It was simply a reflex because I always vote ‘yes’ in support of the KMT,” said Yen, who went over to Wang after he cast the ballot to find out that he got it wrong.
The other two independent lawmakers, May Chin (高金素梅) and Chen Hsueh-sheng (陳雪生), sided with the 64-seat KMT in voting against the motion. Wang and Deputy Legislative Speaker Hung Hsiu-chu (洪秀柱) also cast ballots in favor of Chen.
DPP Legislator Kuan Bi-ling (管碧玲), who was in South Korea attending her daughter’s wedding, was the only one absent from the vote.
The KMT had initially counted on support from the PFP and the three independent lawmakers to bring the number of “no” votes to 70.
After the vote, Wang wondered why the PFP had changed its mind at the last minute.
PFP caucus whip Thomas Lee (李桐豪) said his party voted for the motion because the Executive Yuan had failed to propose concrete measures to address issues related to electricity hikes, youth unemployment and rising consumer prices.
On Friday, Lee told the legislative floor that the PFP would like to give Sean Chen’s Cabinet a probationary period of three months to handle the three issues.
According to the Constitution, as a result of the vote, the legislature may not initiate another no-confidence motion against Sean Chen for one year.