Despite holding an extra session, the legislature did not vote on President Ma Ying-jeou’s (馬英九) nominees for the Control Yuan. Instead of blaming itself for the delay, the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) accused the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) of violating the Constitution and Legislative Speaker Wang Jin-pyng (王金平) of not forcibly removing any obstacles to the vote.
KMT Legislator Alex Fai (費鴻泰) even attacked Wang, saying that he was “irresponsible.”
In what way did the DPP violate the Constitution by blocking the vote? During former president Chen Shui-bian’s (陳水扁) administration, the legislature blocked the vote on Chen’s Control Yuan nominees for more than three years and Ma stressed that only four of the five government branches were left.
However, life went on without the Control Yuan, and the government carried out its administrative affairs as usual. This shows that the Control Yuan is a useless appendage that would be better removed.
How can the opposition be blamed for blocking Ma’s nominees? The problem is that it is a bad list, in fact the worst ever, so it would be negligent not to block it. Besides, how can the KMT blame it all on the DPP? Even some KMT lawmakers think several of the nominees are inappropriate for the posts.
As KMT Legislator Chen Ken-te (陳根德) said, since the Control Yuan has issued corrections to the agencies where some of the nominees used to work, how can the KMT convince the public if they use party discipline to force the approval of all the nominees?
As a matter of fact, KMT Legislator Lu Hsueh-chang (呂學樟), convener of the party’s review committee for the nomination list, is most vocal in his questioning, saying that the qualifications of eight of the nominees are questionable and they are therefore on his blacklist.
Lu has suggested that the KMT authorities allow the lawmakers to vote freely and said that “we should not sacrifice our constitutional system and our lawmakers’ dignity and autonomy for a few controversial nominees. Doing so may have a negative effect.” Exactly who is violating the Constitution now?
Even if the legislature’s delay does violate the Constitution, that should be the responsibility of the legislature as a whole, not the DPP alone. How can the KMT blame DPP Chairperson Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文)? Are KMT lawmakers not also members of the legislature? Is the DPP controlling the legislature?
As Article 44 of the Constitution states: “In case of disputes between two or more yuan, other than those for which there are relevant provisions in this Constitution, the president may call a meeting of the presidents of the yuan concerned for consultation with a view to reaching a solution.”
However, the problem with the legislature’s delay in approving Ma’s nominees does not lie in the Legislative Yuan or the Control Yuan. Rather, it lies with the Presidential Office, as Ma’s nomination list is simply unacceptable.
Under these circumstances, even if Ma were to call a meeting of the branch presidents in accordance with the Constitution, would he be able to reach a solution?
In addition, calling a meeting of the yuan presidents poses more difficulties.
The Control Yuan is already in caretaker status, and Control Yuan President Wang Chien-shien (王建煊) will step down once his successor is approved by the legislature, so it seems inappropriate for Ma to call a meeting with him now.
As for the legislative speaker, the KMT has already unilaterally withdrawn his party membership, prompting the speaker to file a lawsuit against the decision. Even if Wang Jin-pyng were to agree to attend a meeting, would that solve the problem?
According to media reports, a top KMT official says that since the year-end elections are just over four months away, if KMT lawmakers do not unite but “continue to bring down their own,” they will not only hurt Ma’s prestige, but also the party’s election campaign.
There are two problems with this statement. First, would the KMT really gain the upper hand in the year-end elections if the legislature approved a list of inferior nominees? People might have different views on this.
Second, the KMT cares more about any threat to Ma’s prestige. This is amusing. Does he have any prestige left after his approval rating dropped to a mere 9 percent? Is he still powerful inside the party?
Former vice president and former KMT chairman Lien Chan (連戰) recently held a party to stump for his son Sean Lien (連勝文), the party’s candidate for the Taipei mayoral election in November. The legislative speaker was not only invited, but also treated as the main guest.
Judging from the power struggle between Ma and Wang Jin-pyng, the Lien family actually trampled all over Ma’s prestige by publicly inviting the legislative speaker.
In a nutshell, Ma should be ashamed to talk about his prestige.
Chin Heng-wei is a political commentator.
Translated by Eddy Chang
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