Opponents make frest bid to oust Chen
Updated: 2006-11-06 13:53
Taipei - Taiwan "President" Chen Shui-bian's opponents criticized him on
Monday of trying to buy time with his denial of corruption allegations, while
opposition "lawmakers" made plans for another motion to oust him.
Ma Ying-jeou, chairman of the main
opposition Nationalist Party (KMT), delivers a speech to supporters during
a rally calling for Taiwan's "president" Chen Shui-bian to step down in
Taipei November 5, 2006. [Reuters]
Prosecutors pitched Chen
into the biggest political crisis of his six years in office last week, saying
they had enough evidence to indict him -- though he could not be prosecuted
while in office.
indicted Chen's wife for embezzlement and receipt forgery in a case involving
misuse of T$14.8 million (US$448,000).
Brushing off Chen's denials of
wrongdoing, an opposition leader said "legislators" would introduce a so-called
"recall" motion to "parliament", the third in less than half a year, on Friday.
But the opposition parties, which have a slim majority in "parliament",
would need at least 12 the ruling Democratic Progressive Party members to back
the motion. Were it to pass, the motion would trigger a voter referendum on
whether to get rid of Chen.
The ruling party's spokesman said there
would be no dissent.
Nevertheless, political uncertainty
weighed on Taiwan's markets on Monday. The main stock index was down 0.55
percent at 0300 GMT, while the Taiwan dollar weakened from a one-month high to
T$32.987 against the US dollar.
Wu Shu-chen, wife of
Chen Shui-bian, looks on during a celebration in Taipei in March 18, 2000.
Prosecutors intend to file corruption charges against Wu along with other
officials in Chen Shui-bian's government, local media reported on Friday.
Opposition party members said Chen's
ouster was necessary because he had "cheated" the public and, in an address on
Sunday night, had cast doubt on the legal system to handle questions about use
of the "presidential office's state affairs budget".
"Of course, this
recall motion is going to have new content," said Tsai Chin-long, a spokesman
for the main opposition Nationalist Party, referring to the "state affairs
budget". "Before there was no reliable evidence."
Chen promised during
his address to resign if his wife, Wu Shu-chen, was found guilty. But opposition
members believe that was a time-buying tactic -- one analyst said the courts
could take more than a year to hear the case.
Some Taiwan newspapers
accused Chen, who has weathered months of street protests, of lying about
his role in the "state affairs budget" case.
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