Taipei, Sept. 17 (CNA) The opposition Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) has decided to initiate a no-confidence vote against Premier Sean Chen, describing the action as necessary to save Taiwan's constitutional democracy and economy.
The country's main opposition party approved the no-confidence vote initiative during a party legislative caucus meeting Monday that was attended by DPP Chairman Su Tseng-chang.
A DPP caucus whip, Ker Chien-ming, said the caucus would initiate the vote the following day when the Legislative Yuan starts its second session of the year.
The initiative is not designed to start a political struggle with the ruling Kuomintang (KMT), but "to save constitutional democracy and Taiwan's economy," according to Ker.
He did not explain why Taiwan's constitutional democracy was in crisis or how bad the economy has turned.
Su for his part said that after talks with local enterprises and people, he found that there is a "unanimous voice" that demands saving the economy by reshuffling the Cabinet.
"Taiwan is in dire economic straits, but the government of President Ma Ying-jeou has been unable to handle the problem, nor does it feel the people's pain," he said. So, the no-confidence vote initiative is not planned as an inter-party struggle. "It's a struggle between hope and desperation," he added.
Meanwhile, a survey released earlier in the day by Taiwan ThinkTank, a pro-DPP research institute, indicates that 60 percent of the respondents said the Cabinet needs to be reshuffled, while 19.5 percent said there is no need for a reshuffle.
The survey also shows that 82 percent said a planned second-stage hike of electricity rates should be shelved unless the Taiwan Power Company shows signs that its operations have been significantly improved.
Hsu Yung-ming, the convener of the Taiwan ThinkTank survey team, said the latest survey shows an obvious rise in public disapproval of Ma and Chen from two months ago.
The disapproval rating for Chen reached 53.3 percent, the highest level since March, he went on, citing the results of a survey conducted among randomly selected people aged 20 and above nationwide Sept. 12-14.
The poll collected 1,079 valid samples. The margin of error reached plus and minus three percentage points.
The DPP had revealed its intention to initiate the no-confidence vote against Chen even before the May 20 presidential inauguration, despite being aware that it is highly unlikely the party will gain enough votes to oust the premier.
The DPP, which has 40 seats in the 113-seat Legislative Yuan, will have more than the one-third of votes needed to initiate a no-confidence vote under the Constitution if it wins backing from the Taiwan Solidarity Union, which holds three seats in the Legislature.
But it is still well short of the 57 votes needed to actually pass such a measure. Even if it were to get another three seats from the People First Party, along with support from three other independent lawmakers, they would still need some votes from legislators of the majority KMT, which holds 64 seats.
Under the Constitution, three days after a no-confidence vote motion is proposed, lawmakers have 48 hours to vote through open balloting.
If more than than half of all lawmakers cast votes of no confidence, the premier would have to tender his resignation within 10 days or 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, Tseng Ying-yu, Sophia Yeh, Ho Meng-kuei and