Taiwan News, Staff Writer
2013-10-11 02:52 PM
All 40 lawmakers from the Democratic Progressive Party and all three from the Taiwan Solidarity Union supported the motion Friday morning, and after negotiations it was decided to hold the vote on October 15. The vote will not be anonymous.
The measure will need the support of an absolute majority or 57 of all current 112 lawmakers to pass, which would provoke the premier to tender his resignation within 10 days, followed by the dissolution of the Legislative Yuan and a complete re-election within 60 days.
As arguments for the motion, the opposition said President Ma Ying-jeou and Jiang had embarked on a power struggle, Ma had managed the leaking of confidential information from a judicial investigation, the government had put wiretaps on the Legislature, Ma’s standings in the opinion polls had fallen to 9 percent, the economy was faltering and the service trade pact with China had been negotiated in the dark.
It was time to do something about the government’s violations of the Constitution, the DPP lawmakers said, despite the difficulties in getting the motion approved.
Even with the two independent lawmakers and the two members of the People First Party, the motion would still only have the backing of 47 legislators, ten short of the necessary majority.
The KMT, which holds 65 seats, condemned the motion as an empty gesture and promised it would completely block it, with not a single member voting in favor. At a caucus meeting Friday noon, leading lawmakers said that any member who even voted wrongly, abstained or stayed away from the October 15 vote could face expulsion from the party.
The ruling party also called on the opposition to drop its boycott against Jiang’s official report. If the motion of no confidence failed, the DPP would have no argument to keep blocking Jiang’s report, the KMT said.Since the latest legislative session opened September 17, Jiang tried and failed six times to take the podium and deliver his administrative report because the DPP occupied the podium. The opposition said it would only allow Jiang to speak if he apologized first for remarks seen as demeaning to Legislative Speaker Wang Jin-pyng.
DPP Chairman Su Tseng-chang announced on Thursday, Taiwan’s Double Ten National Day, that his party would file the motion in order to defend democracy against the unconstitutional actions of President Ma Ying-jeou and in order to let changed public opinion to be reflected by a new Legislature. It didn’t matter whether the motion was accepted or defeated, but action was necessary, Su said.
The DPP also considered recalling or impeaching the president, but those actions needed to overcome an even more considerable threshold, making them unpractical for the time being.
Ma was re-elected president in January 2012 with more than 50 percent of the vote, but his approval rating recently dropped from 13 percent to a record low of 9.2 percent in one survey. As a result, his government no longer enjoyed the support of the people and needed to be replaced through a motion of no confidence, Su said.
TSU Chairman Huang Kun-huei, who initially opposed the motion because it did not directly affect the president, said Thursday his party’s three lawmakers would stand on the side of the DPP to show solidarity.
However, he pointed out the dangers of an eventual early legislative election, because if Ma’s supporters still won a majority thanks to the election system, they would allow the president to speed up relations with China. As the chairman of the KMT, Ma could also control the party’s candidate nomination process, allowing him to remove anyone too critical of his policies, Huang said.
The Presidential Office expressed regret at the DPP’s push for a no-confidence motion. The main opposition party should join hands with the government in trying to improve the economy, the Presidential Office said.
Taiwan experienced two motions of no confidence before, but neither of them succeeded. In 1999, the DPP and the New Party tried to remove Premier Vincent Siew from office, while last year the DPP and the TSU launched a motion against Premier Sean Chen.
After next Tuesday’s motion, there cannot be another one for at least one year.