Premier Jiang Yi-huah (江宜樺) and the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) breathed a sigh of relief yesterday after the no-confidence motion against Jiang failed, while the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) tried to regroup in its fight against President Ma Ying-jeou’s (馬英九) administration.
The proposal, jointly tabled by the DPP and the Taiwan Solidarity Union (TSU), was rejected by a margin of 67 to 45, with all 112 legislators voting along party lines. All 65 KMT lawmakers and two other lawmakers voted against the motion, while the votes in favor came from the DPP’s 40 lawmakers, the TSU’s three and two from the People First Party.
Legislative Speaker Wang Jin-pyng (王金平), whose KMT membership was revoked after Ma and the KMT accused him of improper lobbying, voted against the proposal.
KMT Policy Committee executive director Lin Hung-chih (林鴻池) said the failure of the motion “signified the reaffirmation of the premier.”
He also urged the DPP to acknowledge “a new beginning” by allowing Jiang deliver his policy report to the legislature on Friday.
The DPP caucus said it was extremely disappointed with its KMT colleagues for siding with the Ma administration and ignoring public opinion that Jiang should step down for his poor performance and violating the Constitution.
DPP caucus whip Ker Chien-ming (柯建銘) said the caucus would boycott all interparty negotiations indefinitely because KMT lawmakers had betrayed the public.
Prior to the 9:30am to 11am vote, which used the disclosed ballot method, the DPP and the KMT both held caucus meetings.
With the KMT saying that anyone who voted for the motion would face party discipline, there was little suspense over the outcome.
Non-Partisan Solidarity Union Legislator May Chin (高金素梅) and independent Legislator Chen Shuen-sheng (陳雪生) decided to side with the KMT, leaving the opposition alliance with no gains from its lobbying.
The result was similar to the no-confidence motion that the DPP proposed in September last year against then-premier Sean Chen, who survived by a vote of 66 to 46, but was replaced by Jiang in February.
As soon as the results were announced, Jiang went to the Legislative Yuan to thank Wang and the KMT lawmakers. He met with Wang privately for eight minutes before he was greeted by KMT lawmakers outside of the legislature’s assembly hall with hugs, cheers and applause.
A smiling Jiang said he felt “a much stronger sense of duty” to carry out policies that benefit the public. He said he was “very happy” with the result and vowed to focus on policies to boost the economy in return for the support he received.
“Since the no-confidence motion was voted down, our team has a much stronger sense of duty because we know that people expect us to do more and better. We will do our best under the legislature’s oversight to live up to the public’s expectations,” he said.
Jiang said he thanked Wang for voting against the motion and for his efforts at managing legislative proceedings.
Jiang’s role in what has been described as a political vendetta waged by Ma against Wang in a bid to strip the latter of his KMT membership and speakership had left the relationship between Jiang and the legislature strained since the session began on Sept. 17.
The opposition parties have blocked Jiang from taking the podium at six floor meetings to deliver his policy address to convene a new regular session of the legislature, which would have been followed by a question-and-answer session between the premier and lawmakers.
Added to that impasse was that Jiang did not speak to Wang until Oct. 4, after Wang was accused by the Special Investigation Division (SID) of the Supreme Prosecutors’ Office of involvement in an undue influence case.
A number of KMT lawmakers were also unhappy with Jiang’s comments about Wang and the legislature, and the way the SID pursued Wang’s case.
In a meeting of the legislature’s Procedure Committee after the morning vote, Jiang’s report to the legislature was listed on the agenda for Friday’s plenary session.
The Executive Yuan later issued a statement in which Jiang expressed hope that he would be allowed to deliver his policy address and that the legislature would begin to review the budget for next year, as well as bills of great concern to the nation’s development.
Jiang said his team would formulate policies to address the economy, the needs of disadvantaged people, the cultivation of talent and cultural development.
The Executive Yuan will be more humble and receptive to ideas from all sectors of the community to win the people’s trust, he said.
Meanwhile, the KMT said the failed motion was a vote of confidence for the government, and it urged the DPP to refrain from boycotting legislative procedures and creating political instability.
KMT Culture and Communication Committee director Fan Chiang Tai-chi (范姜泰基) accused the DPP of abusing its constitutional rights to file no-confidence motions against the Cabinet, and said the DPP should focus its efforts on responding to public expectations of a stable and prosperous society.
“The DPP is a repeat offender for using its right to launch a no-confidence motion as a political tool… Now that its motion has failed again, we urge the DPP to put the interests of the public into consideration and stop abusing its constitutional rights,” he said.
Fan Chiang accused DPP Chairman Su Tseng-chang (蘇貞昌) of covering up for Ker amid allegations that he asked Wang to lobby prosecutors considering whether to appeal his acquittal in a breach of trust case, and allowing DPP lawmakers to paralyze the legislature.
“The DPP should think about whether its moves meet public expectations at a time when people in Taiwan long for political stability,” he said.
According to the Additional Articles of the Constitution, there cannot be another no-confidence motion initiated against the same Cabinet within one year of a failed proposal.
Additional reporting by Mo Yan-chih