Taipei, Sept. 22 (CNA) A no-confidence motion launched by the opposition against Premier Sean Chen failed to pass the 113-seat Legislative Yuan Saturday.
The motion was voted down 66-46.
All legislators showed up for the voting, except for Kuan Bi-ling of the opposition Democratic Progressive Party (DPP), who is currently on a visit to South Korea for her daughter's wedding.
The motion was initiated jointly by the DPP and the Taiwan Solidarity Union (TSU) right after the Legislature opened its second session of the year Sept. 18.
Before the voting took place, a DPP caucus whip, Ker Chien-ming, described the no-confidence vote as "a duo between public opinions and Ma's opinions."
The DPP initiated the motion out of two reasons, he said, explaining that the party considers Chen's Cabinet a "scarecrow" that has no power over policy or personnel appointments, with President Ma Ying-jeou controlling everything.
And it is the Cabinet that has placed Taiwan in dire economic straits, he alleged.
The DPP and TSU's 42 votes were added to by the People First Party (PFP), which posted three votes in favor of the motion. The PFP was once considered a close ally of the ruling Kuomintang (KMT).
The other vote in favor of the motion was from Yen Chin-piao of the Non-Partisan Solidarity Union. Yen, however, claimed he placed his ballot in the wrong box because he was unfamiliar with the voting procedure.
He apologized for the mistake when his name was called out during the ballot-counting process. All names on the ballots were disclosed.
"No one told me how to vote," he told reporters.
Before the poll, PFP caucus convener Lee Tung-hao revealed that all three PFP lawmakers would vote for the motion to topple the Chen Cabinet.
His party was disappointed by the government's refusal to answer the PFP's calls for the government to make sure commodity prices do not rise more than 2 percent this year and to keep the unemployment rate among young people below 9 percent, he said.
The KMT holds 64 seats in the Legislative Yuan, while the DPP has 40 seats, the TSU and PFP each hold three seats, and the Non-Partisan Solidarity Union has two seats. The last seat is held by an independent lawmaker.
Under the Constitution, three days after a no-confidence vote motion is proposed, lawmakers have 48 hours to vote on it by means of open balloting.
If more than half of the lawmakers vote in favor of the no-confidence motion, the premier would be required to resign within 10 days. At the same time, the premier may request the president to dissolve the Legislature.
If the no-confidence motion fails, lawmakers must wait another full year before they can bring another motion against the same premier.
(By Tseng Ying-yu, Ho Meng-kuei and Elizabeth Hsu)