A Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) lawmaker yesterday proposed to recall President Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁) for what he called his "trampling on the Constitution" and creating political disorder.
KMT Legislator Ting Shou-chung (丁守中) launched a signature drive yesterday for his petition to recall the president because Ting said the president's New Year address "heightened cross-strait tension" by pledging to push for a referendum on a new constitution.
Chen said in the speech that he hoped to see a draft of a new constitution completed this year and if conditions are ripe, "Who says it is impossible to hold a referendum on a new constitution next year?"
Ting yesterday said that he would really hate to see the political situation "remain in neutral for the next two years."
"We can tell from the president's New Year address that he will dedicate himself in his remaining two years to creating more political feuding and cross-strait unrest," he said.
"The people of Taiwan should not sit idly by and must make good use of the constitutional rights available to them," Ting said.
He also listed 10 incidents to back up what he called Chen's "violations of the Constitution" and his "creation of political discord."
Ting said that he plans to present his proposal to today's KMT Central Standing Committee meeting so committee members can discuss it in full.
Ting first proposed Chen's recall in October 2000 when his administration decided to halt construction of the Fourth Nuclear Power Plant. The petition failed because of an insufficient number of signatures.
The Law Governing Legislators' Exercise of Power (立法院職權行使法) stipulates that one quarter of lawmakers must agree on a recall proposal before it can proceed to the Procedure Committee.
While no discussion is needed, the plenary legislative sitting must complete the review of the proposal 15 days after the proposal is placed on the legislative agenda.
The legislature must notify the person recalled to present a written rebuttal seven days before the review. The legislature can still proceed to discuss the case if the person refuses to comply.
The consent of two-thirds of the number of lawmakers must be obtained to make the proposal valid.
The recall campaign must then be put to a popular vote and the approval of half of the eligible electorate must be obtained to make it valid.
People First Party (PFP) caucus whip Hwang Yih-jiau (黃義交), who signed Ting's petition letter yesterday, said that his caucus respects the rights of individual PFP members to endorse the campaign.
Hwang said that his caucus will not make a decision on the matter until a caucus meeting is called before the legislature goes into winter recess on Jan. 13.