Tuesday, June 05, 2007

Toppling the Cabinet: DPP Joins the Bandwagon

The DPP is moving closer toward a joining a no-confidence vote in the Premier initiated by the PFP last year. The new premier, Chang Chun-hsiung, observed.....

Speaking to reporters at the Grand Hotel after attending a national drug control conference, Chang said he respected the president's and legislators' positions on toppling the Cabinet to pave the way for a dissolving of the legislature.

The Constitution stipulates that the president may, within 10 days following the legislative approval of a no-confidence vote against the premier, dissolve the legislature.

As of Friday, 46 out of the the 83 DPP legislators had endorsed Chen Chin-de's motion, 26 signatures short of the one-third threshold required to send the motion to the legislature.

Chen Chin-de said he would work toward getting more DPP legislators on board.

Explaining the rationale behind the motion, he said the prevailing disorder in the pan-blue-dominated legislature had seriously hindered administrative operations and that "now is the time to put an end to the farce."

Several DPP legislators, however, have expressed doubts about the no-confidence motion, which has also drawn flak from legislators in the opposition.

The politics of this is now quite interesting. The KMT has been doubtful about toppling the Premier since the idea was first proposed last year when the recall motions against Chen Shui-bian failed (as they were inevitably bound to)....as I wrote at the time:

The Blues' obsession with taking out Chen has now led them to propose that, if they fail to bring down Chen, they will bring down the government so they can form a new legislature....so they can bring down Chen. There's no clearer statement of the radicalism of the Blues, who are willing to destroy governance on the island so that they can bring down a President who now has less than 18 months left in his tenure. The Blues are not a stability party; they are radical reactionaries, and they will cheerfully sacrifice the interests of Taiwan, Japan, the US, and the region to achieve their goals. I hope policymakers in Washington are following this closely. You've picked the wrong side, guys, and the Blues are going to betray you in the end.

The DPP has picked up this radical move, which is not likely to be greeted with joy by the business sector, as a possible answer to the problem of the legislative deadlock caused principally by the KMT and its allies. Call their bluff; force a vote. Not all the DPP legislators favor the move, however.

Speculation: lurking behind this is the upcoming legislative election. The KMT wants to have the legislative and Presidential elections at the same time. Since it has more money, it can afford that, while the DPP cannot and would prefer to have the elections at separate times. Not by coincidence the KMT recently complained about the Central Election Commission's decision to set the date of the legislative elections to Jan 12. Suddenly here is the PFP offering a way to do that: dissolve the legislature, force elections early -- which hurts the KMT more, since its more extensive local networks require stroking with flows of cash and patronage that take time and effort to arrange. Advantage? Hard to say, but it hurts the DPP less to have the elections early.

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