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Sat, Jan 20, 2001 - Page 3 News List

Lawmakers agitating against premier

POLITICAL GAMBLE A majority of the signatories who have supported a motion for a vote of no-confidence against Chang Chun-hsiung are members of the ruling DPP

By Stephanie Low  /  STAFF REPORTER

With the dispute over the Fourth Nuclear Power Plant (核四) continuing despite a constitutional interpretation from the Council of Grand Justices, some lawmakers have started a signature drive for a vote of no-confidence against Premier Chang Chun-hsiung (張俊雄).

A motion for the no-confidence vote initiated by Eugene Jao (趙永清), chairman of the People's Union (超黨派問政聯盟), a group of independent legislators, had been signed by over 60 legislators as of yesterday.

Jao proposed that President Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁) open negotiations with opposition leaders immediately to try to overcome their differences, and if negotiations still fail to bring about an agreement, passing a no-confidence vote in the premier to make possible an early legislative election will be a way of resolving the deadlock.

"In this case, Chen should make a commitment to follow the practice in which the majority of members in the legislature will gain the right to form the Cabinet," Jao said.

"Unless there is a new political landscape, the unrest will continue until the next legislative election at the end of the year," Jao added.

Jao said that if Chen does not make the commitment mentioned above nor make any effort to try to break the deadlock, the five members of the People's Union will support a motion to recall Chen, which has been submitted by opposition lawmakers to the legislature's secretariat.

According to the Constitution, the legislature can schedule a no-confidence vote in the premier if the motion is endorsed by more than one-third of legislators.

The vote will be passed if it is supported by more than 50 percent of legislators, after which the premier will need to step down.

At the same time he may request that the president dissolve the legislature.

As there is currently a total of 219 legislators, the motion can be put forward as long as it is endorsed by 74 legislators.

Of the over 60 legislators signing the motion, about 40 are from the DPP, according to Jao.

Apollo Chen (陳學聖), one of the handful of KMT legislators who have signed the motion, said it will be the right time to initiate the no-confidence vote if the Executive Yuan still refuses to obey the resolution to be adopted by the legislature on the nuclear power plant issue.

"Facing such a shameless government, we feel we must start proceedings for a no-confidence vote. Otherwise people will consider the Legislative Yuan a toothless tiger," Chen said.

Chen predicted that the number of KMT legislators supporting a no-confidence vote will increase.

If the president still does not respect the legislature after the election, the legislature should pass a motion to recall the president, Chen said.

DPP Legislator Lee Wen-chung (李文忠), one of the DPP signers, said he supported resorting to a no-confidence vote to resolve the current political deadlock, despite it being controversial for a member of the ruling party to push for a no-confidence vote against the premier.

"After the formation of the new legislature, the majority party or majority coalition in the legislature will form the Cabinet, no matter whether the president likes it or not. The president definitely should follow the rules of the Constitution," Lee said.

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