Taiwan opposition fails bid for no confidence vote

TAIPEI, July 25, 2012 (AFP) - Taiwan's main opposition party on Wednesday failed to press ahead with a vote of no confidence in Premier Sean Chen, after his cabinet came under fire over a recent string of controversies.

The parliament, dominated by the ruling Kuomintang party, refused to hold the vote proposed by the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP), citing procedural issues, officials said.

In extraordinary parliamentary sessions, such as the one held Wednesday, lawmakers are not allowed to discuss matters introduced in an ad hoc fashion -- which included the no confidence vote -- according to internal regulations.

"We are very angry that the ruling party rejects the vote to avoid resolving the problems," said Ker Chien-ming, a leading member of the DPP caucus.

"Chen should be replaced as he fails to manage his team well."

Calls for Chen's dismissal have increased amid public discontent over recent controversial decisions, including a rise in fuel and electricity prices and a plan to lift a ban on imports of US beef treated with growth drugs.

The DPP also demanded Chen be held responsible for a corruption scandal implicating former top cabinet official Lin Yi-shih, who has admitted taking bribes from a businessman.

Observers said the Lin bribery case had dealt a heavy blow to President Ma Ying-jeou, who was elected pledging to fight corruption after his predecessor Chen Shui-bian was implicated in several graft cases.

Ma's popularity plunged to its lowest level ever of 15.0 percent in the wake of the scandal, according to a poll released earlier this month.

Under Taiwan's political system the premier heads the cabinet and is appointed by the president.