Premier Su Tseng-chang (蘇貞昌) yesterday said the "harmonious atmosphere" needed to facilitate a meeting with Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) Chairman Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) had not developed because of Ma's decision to back the People First Party's (PFP) proposal to recall the president.
The legislature has decided to vote on the motion to recall President Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁) next Friday.
"It was [Ma] who decided to propose the issue and get it passed by the legislature. How can he say that he had no other choice?" Su asked while fielding questions from KMT Legislator Lee Ching-hua (李慶華) on the legislative floor.
"We made an agreement that the meeting should be held in a `harmonious atmosphere.' Obviously, this `harmonious atmosphere' has not come about," Su added.
Lee complained that the premier was asking for something that was impossible.
"The proposal is now a done deal. It is like trying to pick a bone out of an egg to ask Ma to use his influence to withdraw the recall proposal," Lee said.
The premier said that it would be difficult to organize the meeting at the moment because no agreement had been reached.
"When Minister Without Portfolio Lin Si-yao (林錫耀) and KMT Secretary-General Chan Chun-po (詹春柏) met with Ma's representatives on my behalf last week, both sides agreed that the proposal should be withdrawn and a harmonious atmosphere should be cultivated as a bottom line when organizing the meeting," Su said.
Su added that he did not understand why Ma was insisting on the meeting being a closed-door affair between the two of them.
"We are not going to discuss anything classified. Therefore, the meeting should include the leaders of the five main political parties [Democratic Progressive Party, KMT, PFP, Taiwan Solidarity Union and Non-Partisan Solidarity Union] as well as Legislative Speaker Wang Jin-pyng (王金平)," Su said.
Meanwhile, Ma yesterday reiterated his wish to meet Su before the legislative vote next Friday.
"If Premier Su is willing to meet me before Oct. 13, it could prove a turning point [in postponing the second recall motion,]" he said.
While the KMT had already agreed to postpone its version of the recall motion, Ma said it was too late to stop the PFP's recall motion even though he "had made efforts" to convince the party to do so.
"As the largest opposition party, the KMT will continue its efforts to ease the political deadlock through negotiations with the government," he added.
Additional reporting by Mo Yan-chih