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Legislature votes on recall motion

Tsai Jing-lung, a legislator of the opposition Kuomintang shows a sign that reads "I agree" during a vote in Taipei yesterday.

Tsai Jing-lung, a legislator of the opposition Kuomintang shows a sign that reads "I agree" during a vote in Taipei yesterday.

The dominant opposition parties yesterday were successful in advancing a motion for a final vote that could lead to a national referendum to decide whether President Chen-Shui-bian, who has been besieged with corruption allegations, should stay in office.
A vote of 106 versus 82 yesterday advanced the recall motion, proposed by the People First Party, to the Whole Committee. The motion is scheduled to be deliberated in the committee on October 11 and 12, and a final vote in the Legislature is slated to take place on October 13. The opposition parties have been behind the recall motion, which is their second attempt to oust the president.
A final vote by the whole floor, which if backed by the support of a two-third majority in the Legislature, would authorize a national referendum to decide on the issue.
In the 220-seat Legislature, the major opposition Kuomintang and its alley the PFP have a total of 112 legislators, while the ruling Democratic Progressive Party has a total of 85 legislators.
The first attempt to recall the president initiated by the KMT failed to pass the legislative floor because only 119 legislators voted in favor of the motion, which were 27 votes short. During the first recall motion, the president presented "a report to the people" on TV instead of writing a statement to the legislature to defend himself.
The second recall motion, if passed by the Legislature, will authorize a national referendum. The motion will become effective if more than one half of the electorate cast a ballot in the referendum and more than one half of the effective ballots support the motion.
After the failure to stop the recall motion from moving forward, DDP legislative leader Ker Chien-ming (柯建銘) expressed his regret and said KMT Chairman Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) is totally responsible for the political instability in Taiwan. "Since Ma became the KMT Chairman, there hasn't been a day of rest in the political arena," he said.
He accused Ma of blocking all the bills submitted by the DDP in the last meeting of the Procedure Committee, including the "sunshine" bills and the arms procurement bill, and only allowing the recall motion to go through. The procedure committee decides on the order of the bills to be deliberated.