Ma urges referendum to recall Chen

Sunday, September 24, 2006
The China Post staff

Chairman Ma Ying-jeou of the opposition Kuomintang yesterday reiterated his calls for a new motion designed to recall President Chen Shui-bian to clear the legislative floor, and then for a national referendum to determine the fate of the motion.

Ma said that the Referendum Law is designed to allow nationals to determine whether to accept new laws, bills or motions through a referendum.

Accordingly, Ma said that what he has advocated is for nationals to vote for or against a motion designed to recall President Chen, who has been plagued by a spate of corruption scandals.

In mid-June, the KMT raised a motion to recall Chen, which, however, failed to pass the law-making body due to the high threshold for a passage of such a motion.

Three months later, Ma called for a second motion to recall Chen. He stressed recently that he would like to contact all the key figures of various political parties to negotiate with them on the recall motion.

In response, Chairman Yu Hsyi-kun of the ruling Democratic Progressive Party said what the Referendum Law deals with are issues or bills, not any particular person like President Chen.

Accordingly, Yu said it’s inappropriate to enforce a national referendum on whether President Chen should step down or not.

He said that Taiwan is a country with independent sovereignty, and the president is a representative of the sovereignty. “Supporting President Chen is supporting Taiwan, and its independent sovereignty,” Yu stressed.

Also yesterday, lawmakers of the opposition Kuomintang (KMT) suggested heavyweights of all political parties in the country refrain from holding talks on power arrangements for the “post-Chen Shui-bian” era before the embattled president steps down.

Legislators Joanna Lei, Hung Hsiu-chu, Kuo Su-chun and Lee Yong-ping issued the call in a news conference at the Legislative Yuan Saturday, with Lei reminding the public that the sole goal of the ongoing “One Million People to Depose Chen” campaign is to press for Chen’s resignation.

The anti-corruption campaign has drawn many mothers to join since it was initiated by veteran democracy advocate Shih Ming-teh Aug. 12 to try to force Chen to step down over a spate of alleged corruption scandals involving himself, his family members and close aides, said Lei, who described the movement as a “revolution of mothers.”

Hung explained that what all the mothers are seeking is justice and fairness, as well as a set of honest social values for their children to follow.

Hung said she welcomes leaders of the “pan-green camp” and “pan-blue alliance” to hold talks on the expanding anti-Chen campaign, but a conclusion has to be made on how to push President Chen to step down, Hung said.

Echoing Hung’s remarks, Lee said none of the people taking part in the ongoing sit-in rally on Ketagalan Boulevard in front of the Presidential Office, who have been enduring bracing winds, rains and blazing sunshine since the sit-in began Sept. 9, would accept the premier’s replacement or the transformation of the presidential system into a cabinet system in exchange for Chen staying in power.

Only Chen stepping down can end the public campaign, Kuo stressed, claiming that “President Chen’s alleged corruption is not a problem of the government system, but that of a person.”

There have been reports over the past several days saying that heavyweights of the ruling and opposition parties are working to hold negotiations in an attempt to resolve the current political deadlock resulting from the confrontation between the pro- and anti-Chen camps.

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