Taiwan News, Staff Writer
2013-10-15 03:05 PM
The KMT leadership had threatened to expel lawmakers from the party who voted with the opposition or even cast an erroneous ballot or stayed away from the vote. The voting was not anonymous.
“The KMT chose to stand on the opposite side from public opinion,” DPP Chairman Su Tseng-chang said after the vote. The result meant that the door to negotiations and dialogue was closed, and that nationwide action to bring President Ma Ying-jeou down would start, he said.
The motion needed 57 out of the incumbent 112 lawmakers to pass through. All 65 KMT lawmakers, including Legislative Speaker Wang Jin-pyng, voted against, as well as two independent legislators. The 45 votes in favor of the motion came from the DPP, the Taiwan Solidarity Union’s three lawmakers and the People First Party’s two members.
If the motion had been approved, Jiang would have had to tender his Cabinet’s resignation within ten days, followed by a dissolution of the Legislative Yuan and an early general election within 60 days after that.
After the vote, Su and DPP caucus chief whip Ker Chien-ming expressed their apologies to the public and flashed red cards used in soccer to order a player off the field after a foul. They called on the people to bring down the Cabinet and on President Ma to resign. Ker compared the KMT lawmakers to Japanese World War Two kamikaze pilots committing collective suicide by siding with Ma against the people. “This was not a confrontation between political parties, but one between public opinion and Ma’s opinion,” he said, describing the KMT as the biggest loser.
Su said the opposition stood on the side of public opinion, with opinion polls showing the Ma Administration could only count on the support of about 13 percent of voters. Even though the KMT majority at the Legislature had defeated the motion, the ruling party did not have a majority of the public behind it, and Tuesday’s vote would only strengthen the people’s resolve to oppose Ma and Jiang, Su said at a news conference during the afternoon.
While the vote proceeded inside the Legislative Yuan, crowds estimated at 3,000 gathered outside to voice their support for the no-confidence motion. Former Vice President Annette Lu and ex-Premier Yu Shyi-kun addressed the protesters. Meanwhile, Jiang visited the Legislature, shaking hands with and embracing KMT lawmakers before the vote.
With no similar motion allowed within the next year, the KMT called on the DPP to give up its boycott of Jiang’s administrative report and allow him to present the document on Friday. Since the opening of the current legislative session on September 17, Jiang has failed six times to present his report because DPP lawmakers occupied the podium. They wanted him to apologize for remarks criticizing Wang amid the latter’s recent power struggle with the president. The DPP caucus said it would decide Thursday what to do about Jiang’s plans to address the Legislature the following day.
After the vote, the premier visited the legislative speaker for only the second time in more than a month, reports said. Jiang used his eight-minute visit to express his thanks for Wang’s support in the vote and his hope for a new beginning at the Legislative Yuan, the speaker told reporters.
Tuesday’s no-confidence motion was the third in modern Taiwanese history to fail. In 1999, the DPP tried to bring down the Cabinet of Premier Vincent Siew and last year the Cabinet of Premier Sean Chen.
Earlier, the DPP said it was also considering a recall or an impeachment campaign against Ma, but because of the considerably higher thresholds, it did not take any immediate action. The TSU said it favored a recall of the president.
Author Neil Peng, speaking at the protest outside the Legislative Yuan Tuesday, said campaigners needed to focus first on the easier task of recalling pro-Ma lawmakers. Activists singled out KMT legislator Wu Yu-sheng, a former campaign spokesman for Ma, as the first target of their recall efforts.
DPP lawmaker Yao Wen-chih made a similar proposal, suggesting that first ten KMT legislators should be recalled in order to give the opposition at the Legislative Yuan a better chance at approving motions to recall or impeach Ma.
Former DPP Chairwoman Tsai Ing-wen called on the Legislative Yuan to start investigation Ma’s alleged abuse of power and violation of the Constitution. The ruling elite’s internal power struggles misused the instruments of power and caused chaos and public uncertainty, Tsai said.
Despite the inability of the opposition to defeat the Cabinet at the Legislature, the people’s anger with government policies would not abate and social movements would maintain their activities, she said.