Premier Jiang ringing up KMT for loyalty in no-confidence vote

TAIPEI, Taiwan -- Premier Jiang Yi-huah (江宜樺) has responded to the looming no-confidence vote by calling Kuomintang (KMT) legislators last week in a bid to drum up opposition against the impending vote. He will also hold a press conference today to rally fellow legislators.

Despite the fact that the ruling party holds the majority of seats in the legislature, the Cabinet expressed its worry over the result of the Tuesday vote. Cabinet members and Jiang called KMT legislators, asking them to vote against the no-confidence measure introduced by the opposition Democratic Progressive Party (DPP).

The opposition party holds only 40 legislative seats out of 110.

Jiang announced that the Cabinet will hold a special meeting in advance of his press conference, which will not focus on the political achievements of Jiang during his term in office, but rather will feature the premier explaining several "issues of greater importance" regarding the opposition's desire to dissolve the Cabinet.

The DPP tendered the motion last Friday after the party accused the premier of meddling in the judicial system and the Legislative Yuan, and the legislature will be holding a review of the vote in today's session before voting on it tomorrow. According to Legislative Yuan Speaker Wang Jin-pyng, if the legislature fails to pass the vote, there will be no reason for the DPP to continue blocking Jiang from delivering his policy reports in the Legislative Yuan.

As a political professor, Jiang also spoke of his thoughts on the no-confidence vote in terms of how the results may be deciphered. "There are two sides to the no-confidence vote, as it can also be seen as a confidence vote. If the legislature fails to pass the no-confidence vote, the result simply means that the lawmakers have faith in the Cabinet," said Jiang.

The premier continued to state that other nations hold their own no-confidence votes as well, bringing up France as an example. "Whenever the prime minister is looking to promote a new policy, he will launch a confidence vote, looking to overthrow the Cabinet if needed. The people may root for what they believe, the supporting votes backing the new policy as well; but Taiwan has been regarding the overthrow of the Cabinet as a way to show its distrust of the Cabinet," said Jiang.

DPP Chairman Su Tseng-chang (蘇貞昌), who has been pushing for the no-confidence vote, said that over 70 per cent of the people in Taiwan have expressed a wish to see either President Ma Ying-jeou or Jiang step down. "If the legislators dutifully relay the opinions of the people, it will be possible to overthrow the Cabinet," said Su.