As expected, the third recall motion against President Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁) yesterday failed to pass on a legislative vote, garnering only 118 affirmative ballots.
Immediately after the result, the People First Party (PFP) caucus announced it would initiate a no-confidence proposal against Premier Su Tseng-chang (蘇貞昌) and the Cabinet.
The pan-blue-initiated motion only garnered 118 affirmative votes, one negative vote and 12 invalid votes out of the 131 legislators present, falling short of the threshold -- two thirds of the total 218 legislative seats -- for the motion to pass.
All pan-blue legislators cast affirmative votes except for PFP Legislator Ku Chung-lien (顧崇廉), who was hospitalized and unable to attend. Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) Legislator Chang Chang-tsair (張昌財), who was absent for the second recall motion, attended the session and voted in favor of the motion.
Six of the Non partisan Solidarity Union's eight members also supported the motion, while two members, Chen Chin-ting (陳進丁) and Yang Chung-tse (楊宗哲), did not attend yesterday's session.
All 12 Taiwan Solidarity Union legislators cast invalid votes. Each of them placed a sticker bearing the slogan "respect the judiciary and establish a system" on their ballots.
Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) legislators did not attend the vote yesterday, in line with what they had done in the two previous recall motions.
Unlike the two previous recall motions, during which pan-blue legislators staged noisy demonstrations on the legislative floor, only one demonstration was staged yesterday, after the vote.
Following the recall vote, PFP spokesman Lee Hung-chun (李鴻鈞) told a press conference that the PFP caucus would propose a measure to topple the Cabinet because the Cabinet cannot function well, given that it has been defending the president, who was "embroiled in corruption scandals."
Lee also criticized the KMT caucus for spending too much time in dealing with KMT Chairman Ma Ying-jeou's (馬英九) mayoral special allowance case and "forgetting the recall motion." He urged the KMT caucus to join the PFP in pushing a no-confidence proposal.
Although KMT caucus whip Tsai Chin-lung (蔡錦隆) criticized the DPP's boycott of yesterday's vote as "shameful," he said the caucus would focus on campaigning for next month's mayoral elections for the moment instead of backing the PFP's no-confidence vote.
But the caucus would consider a fourth recall motion or a proposal to topple the Cabinet after the elections, Tsai added.
Calling the third recall motion a "joke," DPP caucus whip Ker Chien-ming (柯建銘) told the press following the vote that the KMT caucus should have withdrawn the motion, as the public has lost interest in it.
Ker said relations between the pan-green and pan-blue camps had worsened since Ma became KMT chairman.
Ma may lose his chance to win the presidential election in 2008 if the KMT decides to launch a fourth recall motion, Ker added.
President Chen yesterday described the campaign launched by the opposition to recall him as part of the country's democracy.
Saying that freedom and the rule of law were two major elements of democracy, Chen added that the public could disagree with the president and try to recall him but that any such action must not overstep the rule of law and the Constitution.
Chen made the remarks while meeting former American Institute in Taiwan chairwoman Therese Shaheen, who is in Taiwan on a private trip.
Additional reporting by CNA
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