The Presidential Office earlier this month announced the resignation of Judicial Yuan President Rai Hau-min (賴浩敏) and Vice President Su Yeong-chin (蘇永欽), as well as President Tsai Ing-wen’s (蔡英文) decision to nominate Public Functionary Disciplinary Sanction Commission Chief Commissioner Hsieh Wen-ting (謝文定) and Judicial Yuan Secretary-General Lin Chin-fang (林錦芳) to succeed them. The nominations are to take effect upon approval by the legislature.
Rai and Su resigned on the grounds that this would help Tsai carry out her plans for judicial reform more fully and effectively, which makes sense.
While Su expressed some complaints in an interview, his decision to resign should still be respected and applauded.
As there is an ongoing debate over the five-branch government system, the presidents and vice presidents of the Examination Yuan and the Control Yuan, who are also nominated by the president and approved by the legislature, should also be considered. The appointment procedures for the heads of the Judicial Yuan, Control Yuan and Examination Yuan are the same. However, in terms of their terms of office, the Judicial Yuan president and vice president double as grand justices, but per Article 5 of the Additional Articles of the Constitution, there is no rule guaranteeing security of tenure. As for the Control Yuan, Article 7 of the Additional Articles of the Constitution stipulates that both the president and the vice president of the Control Yuan are at the same time members of the Control Yuan, and their tenures are guaranteed by the Constitution. As for the Examination Yuan, its president and vice president are not considered members of the Examination Yuan, as their functions are purely administrative. Their tenures are therefore not protected by the Constitution, but instead regulated by the Organic Act of the Examination Yuan (考試院組織法). According to Article 5 of the act, the term of office for the president, vice president and members of the Examination Yuan is six years.
The functions of the president and vice president of the Examination Yuan, which are by nature highly political and involve policymaking, are purely administrative and thus differ from those of Examination Yuan members. For this reason, the Examination Yuan president and vice president should resign after the person who nominated them has stepped down to allow the new president to fully and effectively implement their policies.
The president and vice president of the Examination Yuan were nominated by former president Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) and took office in September 2014. According to the Organic Act of the Examination Yuan, they should remain in office until September 2020, for a period of six years, longer than Tsai’s presidency.
The Tsai administration is working on revamping the government and reforming the pension system. Considering the highly political and administrative nature of their duties and their relationship with the previous administration, it is highly unlikely that the Examination Yuan president and vice president would be looking forward to reform. The Examination Yuan president and vice president should therefore listen to public opinion and follow Rai’s and Su’s example of resigning from their posts, as it would bring hope for reform.
On the other hand, considering the nature of the functions of the Examination Yuan president and vice president, there should be no limitation on how long they should remain in their posts, which is also something that must be taken into consideration when amending the Organic Act of the Examination Yuan.
Chan Chin-chien is a lawyer and Wanxing Borough warden in Taipei’s Wenshan District.
Translated by Tu Yu-an
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