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Ex-ambassador to Pretoria calls for overthrowing Cabinet

Gene Loh, former ambassador to South Africa, called for overthrowing Premier Su Tseng-chang’s Cabinet if lawmakers should fail to recall President Chen Shui-bian.

At a Legislative Yuan session preceding the vote on a third motion to recall the president, Loh said the opposition alliance of the Kuomintang and the People First Party should prepare to propose a no-confidence vote on the premier.

One more session will take place before the legislators are scheduled to vote on the recall motion tomorrow. The motion will be defeated, for the opposition cannot muster a two-thirds majority vote in the 219-seat legislature.

Even if it were adopted, the motion would have to be put to a referendum, in which at least half of the electorate has to take part, and a simple majority approves the recall.

“Should the motion be voted down,” Loh said, “the opposition should at once propose a no-confidence vote to topple the Cabinet.”

It is easier to oust the premier. All it needs is a simple majority vote. The opposition alliance has a majority of two in the law chamber. Nine lawmakers of the Nonpartisan Solidarity Alliance are expected to vote with the opposition.

When a no-confidence vote is passed, Premier Su has to resign. President Chen may appoint a new premier or dissolve the Legislative Yuan.

A parliamentary elections has to be held in two months after President Chen disbands the Legislative Yuan, where the ruling Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) has 84 members. Its ally, the Taiwan Solidarity Union (TSU), controls 12 seats.

All DPP and TSU lawmakers boycotted the session where Loh testified.

They will do so again today when the Legislative Yuan hold another session prior to the voting on the motion.

Chen survived the two previous recall motions on last June 27 and October 13, thanks to the DPP lawmakers boycotting the voting. Their TSU counterparts abstained on both occasions.

Loh said the toppling of the Cabinet is the best way to solve the current political crisis, triggered by the indictment of first lady Wu Shu-chen on November 3 for corruption in connection with the misuse of the public fund under her husband’s control for the conduct of “affairs of state.”

President Chen was not indicted but was regarded as an unindicted co-defendant.

The ruling party’s central consultative committee may defer deliberation on disciplinary action against the first lady and four other members indicted together with her for the state affairs fund scandal.

Yu Shyi-kun, DPP chairman, said the committee should meet today, as is scheduled, to take action.

Lawmaker Lawrence Gao, chairman of the committee, seems reluctant to hold the meeting, where only one decision is possible: to suspend or expel members indicted for corruption.

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