Thu, Jan 05, 2006 - Page 3 News List

Drive to recall president gets cool KMT response

`TIMING' The petition to recall the president initiated by a KMT lawmaker received short shrift during the party's weekly Central Standing Committee meeting

By Mo Yan-chih  /  STAFF REPORTER

A Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) lawmaker's proposal to recall the president generated enthusiastic discussion in the KMT's Central Standing Committee meeting yesterday, although KMT Chairman Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) poured cold water on the idea by putting it up for further discussion.

KMT Legislator Ting Shou-chung (丁守中) began a signature drive on Tuesday for his petition to recall the president for what he called "increasing cross-strait tension" after the president pledged to push for a referendum on a new constitution during his New Year address.

The proposal, however, met with a cool response from Ma and the other members of the Central Standing Committee.

"The Kaohsiung mayoral and councilor elections are a big enough task for us. I think we should consider the timing and the special circumstances of the elections in the south first," KMT Legislator Huang Chao-shun (黃昭順) said yesterday.

KMT Legislator Wu Yu-sheng (吳育昇) also opposed the proposal, saying the party's legislative caucus should propose a motion of censure instead.

Ting defended his proposal as an attempt to prevent the president from creating more political feuding and cross-strait upset.

KMT Legislator Chu Fong-chi (朱鳳芝), on the other hand, supported Ting's proposal.

"Chen is a public enemy, and the KMT should be a responsible opposition party and take the chance to force Chen to think about the consequences of his actions," she said.

Ma called on party members not to overlook the seriousness of the matter, and ordered the policy committee to conduct careful research before making any decision.

Ma yesterday denied he was planning to merge the National Policy Foundation, whose chairman is former KMT chairman Lien Chan (連戰), with the party

The foundation, which served as the KMT's think tank under the administration of Lien, has a total of 483 staff, and is reportedly facing serious financial difficulty after the party failed to provide it with NT$60 million (US$1.85 million) in funds.

Ma dismissed the rumor that the KMT is merging the foundation with the party, while stressing that his party is suffering from a heavy financial burden.

"We do not have any such plans so far, but I hope that everyone can understand that the KMT is currently suffering from severe financial difficulties," Ma said at KMT headquarters yesterday morning.

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