Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Chairman Su Tseng-chang (蘇貞昌) announced yesterday that the party would be initiating a motion of no confidence against the Cabinet as early as today to “have the Taiwanese be the judges of President Ma Ying-jeou’s (馬英九) administration with ballots in their hands.”
“We are initiating the proposal as a constitutional measure to counter the constitutional crisis created by Ma and to stabilize domestic politics... Since the people no longer trust the current administration, a no-confidence motion against the Cabinet is an inevitability,” Su told a press conference, held at the DPP headquarters to coincide with the national day ceremony.
More than 70 percent of the voters saw Ma and Premier Jiang Yi-huah (江宜樺) as incompetent for lying, obstruction of justice and infringement of the Constitution during the ongoing political strife between Ma and Legislative Speaker Wang Jin-pyng (王金平) which also involved wiretaps on the legislature, Su said.
The DPP legislative caucus is expected to propose a no-confidence vote in a Legislative Yuan plenary after collecting the signatures of more than 38 — one-third of the current 112 — lawmakers.
The Additional Articles of the Constitution stipulates that 72 hours after a no-confidence motion is made, an open-ballot vote must be taken within 48 hours. The motion is deemed passed if at least half the lawmakers vote for it, which means the DPP would need 57 votes for the motion to pass.
Controlling only 40 seats, the DPP would need votes from other opposition parties and the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) to pass the threshold. With the Taiwan Solidarity Union, the People First Party and at least one independent lawmaker lending support for a combined 46 or 47 votes, the DPP would need to pry away 10 or 11 votes from the KMT.
Several DPP members and political analysts observed that the action could paradoxically benefit Ma because the threshold is high and because no motion of no confidence could be proposed within a year if the current proposal fails.
Additionally, they observed that a successful vote, which would lead to dissolution of the legislature, would likely help Ma remove Wang from his position as speaker and control the KMT caucus.
However, Su appeared to be unfazed, reiterating that the motion was “the right thing to do” and saying that the party “was not giving up on other options” — impeachment and recall — as well.
Ma and Jiang lied to the Taiwanese, collaborated with judicial officials to remove the legislative speaker with information obtained by alleged illegal wiretapping and tried to infringe on legislative power, all of which could have led to their resignation in other democracies, Su said.
When the DPP could submit the proposal would be decided by the latest developments in the legislature, where the KMT caucus voided the agenda of the legislative plenaries today and on Tuesday. The date and meeting agenda of the next plenary is awaiting further party negotiations.
The DPP initiated a motion of no-confidence against former premier Sean Chen (陳?) in September last year. The party lost the vote, 66 to 46, but Chen was eventually replaced by Jiang in February.
The KMT yesterday slammed the DPP for filing its motion on Double Ten National Day, and criticized the party for boycotting Jiang’s report on the legislative floor.
Meanwhile, in response, the Presidential Office yesterday expressed regret over the DPP’s plan to initiate a no-confidence motion against the Cabinet, and urged the party to present solutions to foster political stability and economic growth instead.
Presidential Office spokesperson Lee Chia-fei (李佳霏) cited Ma’s National Day speech and said the government aimed to find viable ways forward for Taiwan by facilitating economic liberalization while raising the competitiveness of the service sector after the nation signed the cross-strait service trade agreement with China this year.
“The DPP should abandon its political manipulation and join the government to fight for the economy. This will be what the public really wants,” she said.
Separately yesterday, Wang said he respected the DPP’s right to initiate the motion, and said the legislature will handle the motion in accordance with standard procedures.
If the motion is filed, there will be a three-day “cooling off period” to allow the DPP to retrieve the motion. If the party insisted on initiating the motion, the legislature will hold a meeting to review the motion on the fourth day and vote on it on the fifth day, he said.