Fri, Jun 15, 2007 - Page 3 News List

No-confidence plan fizzles out

CRISIS OF CONFIDENCE Tricky intervention by the legislative speaker, who called for negotiations, calmed a furor caused by Chen Chin-te's motion to topple the Cabinet

By Shih Hsiu-chuan  /  STAFF REPORTER

Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Legislator Chen Chin-te, left, is accompanied by DPP caucus whips Ker Chien-ming, center, and Wang Sing-nan yesterday in announcing that he was withdrawing his no-confidence motion against the Cabinet.

PHOTO: CHIEN JUNG-FONG, TAIPEI TIMES

Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) caucus whips were caught off guard yesterday by a motion initiated by a DPP lawmaker to topple the Cabinet.

DPP Legislator Chen Chin-te (陳金德) brought up the motion for legislative review at the beginning of yesterday's plenary session, triggering a flurry of media attention.

Not until Legislative Speaker Wang Jin-pyng (王金平) announced that there was such a motion did the DPP caucus know about Chen's move.

"Legislator Chen Chin-te and 73 other lawmakers have a no-confidence motion here," Wang said. "As the legislature will go into recess [tomorrow] ... we are going to take a break now and negotiate [the issue]," Wang said on the legislative floor.

Wang's handling of the motion gave the DPP caucus leeway to defuse the "crisis," but Chen complained that the speaker didn't deal with the motion in accordance with the Law Governing the Legislative Yuan's Power (立法院職權行使法).

DPP lawmakers who cosigned the motion were asked by the DPP caucus to remove their names, with Legislator Gao Jyh-peng (高志鵬), who doubles as the director of the party's disciplinary committee, threatening Chen with disciplinary action.

Chen finally agreed to back off after a long-talk with Gao, DPP caucus whips Ker Chien-ming (柯建銘), Wang Tuoh (王拓) and Wang Sing-nan (王幸男).

"It's not the right time to bring up a no-confidence motion since the long-stalled central government budget has already been put on top of the agenda for [today's] session and decoupled from the Central Election Commission bill," Wang Sing-nan said.

But Chen said the speaker should have followed proper procedure after receiving the motion, instead of calling for negotiation.

Article 37 states that a plenary session should be called to vote on the no-confidence motion within 72 hours of the petition being filed, Chen said.

Chen drafted the motion on June 1, saying his objective was not to boycott the Cabinet but to put an end to disputes in the legislature.

The Constitution stipulates that the president may, within 10 days after legislative approval of a no-confidence vote against the premier, dissolve the legislature.

Pan-blue lawmakers yesterday called Chen's move a "farce."

The Presidential Office yesterday declined to comment on the botched no-confidence motion, saying only that they "knew about it and understood."

Presidential Office Deputy Secretary-General Cho Jung-tai (卓榮泰) said they respected legislators' right to file the motion.

However, he added, with the long-stalled government budget on the legislative agenda, it would be wise for lawmakers to weigh up the situation before making a decision.

ADDITIONAL REPORTING BY KO SHU-LING

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