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DPP considering no-confidence vote against premier

2012/05/12 16:37:16

Taipei, May 12 (CNA) The opposition Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) is considering initiating a no-confidence vote against Premier Sean Chen and his Cabinet, a DPP legislator said Saturday, even if it is highly unlikely it will ultimately have the votes to oust him.

"We will wait for the best opportunity after the May 20 presidential inauguration" to collaborate with other minor parties in making the move, said DPP legislative caucus whip Ker Chien-ming.

On Friday, President Ma Ying-jeou approved the resignation of Chen and his Cabinet and reappointed him as premier as expected.

Chen's Cabinet resigned en masse on Thursday in line with constitutional precedent to pave the way for a minor reshuffle of his Cabinet to be launched May 20, the same day Ma will be sworn in for a second term.

Opposition Taiwan Solidarity Union (TSU) Legislator Hsu Chung-hsin, a caucus whip, said the TSU caucus has approved a resolution to initiate a vote of no confidence in Chen and his Cabinet and has begun collecting signatures of endorsement.

Hsu said TSU lawmakers have been disappointed with Chen's performance since he was first appointed as premier in January after Ma won re-election, referring to controversies over fuel and electricity price hikes, and the easing of restrictions on the import of U.S. beef.

The lawmaker described Chen as a premier who has no power. "Chen is nothing but a tool used to endorse President Ma's policies," he said.

People First Party Legislator Lee Tung-hao, also a caucus whip, urged Ma to clearly define the premier's role in his inaugural speech on May 20.

But he said his party would be very cautious in deciding whether or not to join in the no-confidence vote initiative because it believes Chen is merely an "innocent victim" of Ma's dominance of power.

The DPP, with 40 seats in the 113-seat Legislative Yuan, and the TSU, with three, have more than the one-third of votes needed to initiate a no-confidence vote under the country's Constitution.

But they are well short of the 57 votes needed to actually pass such a measure. Even if they were to get the PFP's three votes and support from three other unaffiliated lawmakers, they would still need some legislators from the majority Kuomintang (KMT), which holds 64 seats, to defect.

KMT Legislator Hsu Yao-chang, a caucus leader, advised opposition parties not to be so critical of the new Cabinet, which he said had yet to hit its stride.

Under the Constitution, three days after a no-confidence vote motion is proposed, lawmakers have 48 hours to vote through open ballots.

If more than than half of all lawmakers cast votes of no confidence, the premier must tender his resignation within 10 days and ask the president to dismiss the Legislative Yuan.

If the no-confidence vote does not pass, a similar motion cannot be filed against the same premier for a full year.

(By Wen Kuei-hsiang and Elizabeth Hsu)