Taiwan opposition stages protest to oust president
Taiwan's opposition was set to stage a protest rally in the capital on Saturday to oust president Chen Shui-bian.india Updated: Jun 10, 2006 09:37 IST
Taiwan's opposition was set to stage a protest rally in the capital Taipei on Saturday to increase pressure on President Chen Shui-bian to resign over allegations of insider trading against his relatives.
The protest was part of an opposition campaign in the run-up to a possible referendum to recall Chen.
The referendum can only take place if two-thirds of Taiwan's 225-seat legislature approve the move. The opposition would need the support of the 10 independent lawmakers and another 25 from Chen's Democratic Progressive Party to achieve the required majority - an outcome that is considered unlikely.
On Monday, Taiwan's legislature - where the opposition holds a slim majority - is planning to discuss a return from summer recess to begin the procedure for a recall vote.
Though Chen has not been personally implicated in any wrongdoing, opposition leaders say he has lost the dignity necessary to function as president. They have called on him to resign to spare the island more unrest.
Chen's son-in-law, Chao Chien-min, was detained last month on suspicion of insider trading, a charge he has denied. Opposition lawmakers have also accused first lady Wu Shu-chen of involvement in illicit business deals and soliciting favors from business people. The presidential office denies those charges. Main opposition Nationalist leader Ma Ying-jeou was scheduled on Saturday to address crowds in the island's second city, Kaohsiung, but canceled the rally because of torrential rain. The Nationalists' smaller ally, the People First Party, has called on its supporters to gather in front of the Presidential Office building in Taipei.
According to a new opinion poll, a majority of respondents said Chen should resign, though support for the opposition's recall campaign was mixed.
The poll by cable station TVBS said 53 per cent of those surveyed agreed that Chen should resign, with 34 per cent saying he should stay on until the end of his term in 2008.
The opposition's recall moves received the approval of 47 per cent of the poll respondents, with 41 per cent rejecting the campaign. The survey polled 1,396 adults by phone on Wednesday and Thursday and had a margin of error of 2.6 per cent, TVBS said.