Taipei, Sept. 22 (CNA) A no-confidence motion launched by two opposition caucuses against Premier Sean Chen failed to pass the 113-seat Legislative Yuan on 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.
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 in favor of the no-confidence motion against Chen.
The PFP is disappointed by the government's lack of response to its call to keep commodity price increases below 2 percent this year and to prevent the unemployment rate among young people from rising above 9 percent, he said.
The KMT holds 64 seats in the Legislative Yuan, the DPP has 40, the TSU and PFP three each, and the Non-Partisan Solidarity Union two. One seat is held by an independent lawmaker.
In response to the result of the no-confidence vote, DPP spokesman Wang Min-sheng said it was regretful that the party's attempt to unseat Chen had failed.
He said the motion was defeated because of the Legislature's disregard of public opinion.
"It's not the democratic process that's at fault, but rather the political parties," he said.
DPP caucus whip Ker Chien-ming said the defeat of the no-confidence motion against Chen means that the opposition party now has to tackle the "unavoidable task" of seeking to recall President Ma Ying-jeou.
Before the vote was held, Ker said the motion represented "a duel between public opinion and Ma's opinions."
The DPP initiated the motion because it sees Chen's Cabinet as a "scarecrow" that has no power in terms of policy or personnel decisions, Ker said. President Ma controls everything, he added.
The Cabinet is responsible for Taiwan's current dire economic situation, he said.
Meanwhile, TSU caucus convener Huang Wen-ling said after the vote that if Chen insists on retaining Economics Minister Shih Yen-shiang, Economic Planning and Development Minister Yiin Chii-ming and Labor Affairs Minister Wang Ju-hsuan, the TSU will boycott Chen's report to the Legislature Sept. 28
In addition, the TSU will launch a campaign to recall President Ma on May 20 next year because he is to be blamed for the economic downturn in Taiwan, Huang said.
Asked about the opposition parties' plan to try to unseat Ma, Lin Hung-chih, head of the KMT policy committee, said he hopes to see reconciliation between the ruling and opposition parties.
If the legislative wrangling stops, the government will be able to put its full strength behind the economic recovery efforts, he said.
He urged the opposition parties not to boycott Chen's administrative report or to "oppose for the sake of opposing."
(By Tseng Ying-yu, Chen Ting-wei, Chen Shun-hsien, Justin Su and