The People First Party (PFP) caucus yesterday decided not to try and depose embattled Premier Sean Chen (陳冲), as it said it considered the motion initiated by the pan-green camp “political infighting,” a move the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) caucus said it appreciated.
A plenary session was held yesterday for lawmakers to discuss the vote of no confidence against Chen which had been proposed by the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) and the Taiwan Solidarity Union (TSU) caucuses.
The vote is scheduled to take place at 10am today.
Given that the KMT holds 64 seats in the 113-seat legislature, the motion to topple Chen was “more symbolic than substantial,” PFP caucus whip Thomas Lee (李桐豪) said.
According to related rules, at least half of all lawmakers must vote for the motion for it to pass in open ballot voting, a system that leaves limited chances for KMT lawmakers to go against their party’s established line. Lee cast doubt on the legitimacy of the proposed motion.
The Constitution empowers the legislature to launch a vote of no confidence against a premier and the Executive Yuan has to respect the legislature, which represents the people, Lee said.
“As the KMT holds majority in the legislature, the proposed vote of no confidence is not in line with the spirit of the Constitution,” he said.
Lee said his party’s stance on the motion did not mean that it supported the Cabinet and he demanded that Chen properly address issues related to electricity hikes, youth unemployment and rising consumer prices “within a three-month probationary period.”
Chen should resign if he fails to address the problems by the deadline, Lee said.
Defending the initiative, DPP caucus whip Ker Chien-ming (柯建銘) said that “it is the most legitimate vote of no-confidence ever.”
The DPP caucus also outlined a proposal to address three major points: To salvage the Constitutional system which has been ravaged by President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九); to save the country’s “stagnating” economy to remove Chen because he is not suitable to hold the premiership due to his “timid and overcautious personality,” Ker said.
Since Chen was appointed premier in January he “has had little or no voice in both policymaking and the appointment of members of his Cabinet” which runs counter to the spirit of paragraph 4 of Article 2 of the Additional Articles of the Constitution, as well as Article 53 of the Constitution regarding the functions of the president and the premier, Ker added.
Chen is simply a Ma “puppet” and — in his role — he has shown himself to be “incompetent” at coordinating Cabinet agencies as well as being “incapable” of formulating good policies to boost the economy, Ker said.
Should the vote of no confidence fail to pass, the TSU demand that Council for Economic Planning and Development Minister Yiin Chii-ming (尹啟銘), Minister of Economic Affairs Shih Yen-shiang (施顏祥) and Council of Labor Affairs Minister Jennifer Wang (王如玄) be replaced immediately, TSU Legislator Huang Wen-ling (黃文玲) said.
If not, “we will resort to every means” to boycott Chen’s legislature policy address, including occupying the podium, she added.
A number of KMT lawmakers spoke up for Chen at the plenary session, though most of them did not refute the criticism in relation to the nation’s economy.
“It’s true that we have seen an increase in consumer prices along with wage stagnation. We are dissatisfied with the economic downturn. However, the performance of the Ma administration on the economy is much better than the previous DPP administration,” KMT Legislator Lai Shyh-bao (賴士葆) said.