11/07/2006, 00.00
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Opposition trying to oust Chen Shui-bian again

For the third time the president faces recall vote on corruption charges that involve himself and his wife.

Taipei (AsiaNews) – For the third time in a year, Taiwan's main opposition party, the Kuomintang (KMT), is going to take its campaign to oust President Chen Shui-bian to the legislature after prosecution said last week it had enough evident to indict him on corruption charges.

On November 3, Mr Chen's wife, Wu Shu-chen, was indicted for allegedly embezzling 14.8 million New Taiwan dollars (€ 350,000; US$ 450,000) from a special diplomacy fund. President Chen is accused of complicity in the crime. Prosecutors in the case said they had enough evidence to indict the president but could not do so because he enjoys immunity whilst in office.

On Sunday, Mr Chen defend himself on live television saying that money was spent for secret diplomatic missions that he could not reveal because of a need to protect the identities of those who helped Taiwan counter mainland China's diplomatic pressure. He also claims that he was a victim of procedural lapses in accounting and vowed to step down if his wife was ever convicted of corruption. He blamed the mainland for his predicament, pointing the finger at Beijing for trying to isolate Taiwan internationally.

In June and October, the opposition tried to get parliament to pass a motion to force a referendum on the future of the embattled president. Accusations now come from Prosecutor Eric Chen Jui-jen, who was a member of the president's own party, the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP).

The Kuomintang has called on the DPP to back its motion, which calls for a referendum to recall the president. The motion itself will likely be voted on at the end of November. To pass, it needs a two-third majority which requires at least 12 votes from the DPP or its allies.

However, except for a few unhappy members, the DPP has decided to back Chen. Moreover, the Taiwan Solidarity Union (TSU) began wavering on a pledge to support the recall motion when constituents flooded the party with angry calls for abandoning the president.

For some analysts, the current uproar is designed to weaken the DPP ahead of next month local elections.

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See also
Opposition in Taipei to submit recall motion to oust president
Third anti-Chen motion fails in parliament
Trial of former Taiwanese President Chen Shui-bian opens
Presidential Election: Tibet might sink the KMT
Parliament changes the constitution


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