Taipei (AsiaNews/SCMP) Taiwanese President Chen Shui-bian, under siege after a week of corruption charges, is to face a recall motion after opposition parties joined forces in an effort to push the vote through the legislature. This came when the main opposition party, the Kuomintang (KMT), decided to back the People First Party (PFP) in raising a recall motion to be voted in an extraordinary session of the legislature Tuesday next week.
Speaking at a meeting of the KMT's central standing committee, party chairman Ma Ying-jeou said he supported the decision because Mr Chen had refused to resign voluntarily despite mounting allegations of corruption against his family and government.
Mr Ma noted that since Mr Chen became president in 2000, his government had failed to address the island's economic woes and other problems, but what made the public angry was its failure to check corruption within his government.
"All people here have seen the first family and its relatives use their influence to steal government resources, speculate in the stock market, interfere in the operations of financial holding firms and collaborate with businessmen," said the KMT leader. "If President Chen fails to stand down, do we want Taiwan to waste another two years?"
Mr Chen, who will end his second four-year term in 2008, has been under mounting pressure to step down since his son-in-law, Chao Chien-ming, was implicated in an insider trading scandal. Pressure has increased when it was revealed that his wife, Wu Shu-chen, was involved in influence peddling over key government bank and enterprise positions.
However, the combined votes of the KMT and PFP are not enough to effect the recall without the support of Mr Chen's own Democratic Progressive Party (DPP).
"We call on the Democratic Progressive Party to make a sacrifice in the face of righteousness," Mr Ma said. "The recall move has nothing to do with the KMT or DPP . . . It is a reform against corruption. In this historical moment, if the DPP refuses to stand on the side of the people, it will be denounced by history."
Analysts said that without DPP support, the motion has only slim chances to pass. Under current rules, it requires a two-thirds majority in the legislature, followed by a "Yes" vote by more than half of all eligible voters in Taiwan.