Thu, Oct 05, 2006 - Page 3 News List

DPP forms action group to address presidential recall

STAFF WRITER , WITH CNA

The Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) has formed a special response panel to deal with an pending legislative vote on the motion to recall President Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁) over alleged corruption, a party whip said yesterday.

Ker Chien-ming (柯建銘), convener of the DPP legislative caucus, said DPP Secretary-General Lin Chia-lung (林佳龍) had organized a response panel to weigh developments in the opposition-initiated recall motion which will be put to a vote in the opposition-controlled legislature next Friday.

According to Ker, the DPP legislative caucus will meet next week to discuss some technical problems with regard to the recall vote -- the second such vote since June -- and will definitely "stage a tableau of unity" on voting day.

Ker said his colleagues have decided to adopt a "three noes" policy toward the upcoming recall vote: "no written rebuttal from President Chen to the recall motion," "no participation by DPP lawmakers in the committee's screening of the motion" and "no attendance by DPP lawmakers on voting day."

The "three noes" policy was used during the first recall vote on June 27, which led to the defeat of the first-ever presidential recall motion in the country's history.

According to existing constitutional provisions, a recall motion requires the support of two-thirds of lawmakers to pass the legislature and be put to a national referendum to decide whether the president should step down before the end of his tenure.

Claiming that no country in the world has ever initiated two recall motions against its head of state within three months, Ker said the recall motion was "nothing but a political dogfight."

Ker said he deplores the absurdity of the country's constitutional provisions with regard to the recall of a sitting head of state, adding that the opposition campaign against Chen will only aggravate the rivalry between the country's two political camps.

As the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) and its ally, the People First Party, control only a slim majority in the 220-seat legislature, the second recall motion, like the first one in June, will most likely fail now that DPP lawmakers have resolved not to support it.

KMT Chairman Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) yesterday declined to confirm whether or not he would accept Premier Su Tseng-chang's (蘇貞昌) demand that KMT legislators not vote yes in the second recall motion against President Chen as a precondition for the proposed Su-Ma meeting.

"Why can't we discuss the issue in the meeting? ... I don't think talking about preconditions in front of the media is a good idea. It spoils the atmosphere," Ma said.

Ma said he understood the pressure Su is facing from his party, but that cross-party negotiations are still a better way to solve the stalemate.

As the second recall motion is unlikely to succeed, Ma said the party will not exclude other possible means to oust the president.

Additional reporting by Mo Yan-chih

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