Truth be told, the refusal of the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) and the People First Party (PFP) to exercise their power to ratify the members of the Control Yuan goes further than merely amounting to a "constitutional crisis," as the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) has claimed.
This behavior is indeed unconstitutional. The reason is that, according to Article 7 of the recent constitutional amendment, Control Yuan members are to be "nominated by the president, and ratified by the Legislative Yuan."
Now, the president has already made his nominations, only for the legislature to neglect their right of consent, contrary to the dictates of the Constitution.
At the moment, everyone's attention is being taken up by the issue of the national examinations, for according to the Control Act (監察法), the lack of Control Yuan members prevents national examinations from going ahead. This is why the government are referring to the situation in terms of a constitutional crisis, or a "constitutional vacuum." If there really must be talk of a constitutional crisis, we should discuss the fact that only four of the five powers invested by the Constitution of the Republic of China are actually being applied, and blame for the fact that the fifth is being neglected by the legislature can be put on the shoulders of the KMT and PFP.
How can these two parties, whose members have taken an oath to uphold the Constitution -- treat it as an outmoded, useless document -- and still claim to be "followers of the founding father of the nation?"
In all honesty, unconstitutional behavior is nothing new for the KMT and PFP of late, a good example being their insistence on pushing through the 319 Shooting Truth Investigation Special Committee Statute (
Legislative Speaker Wang Jin-pyng (王金平), a KMT member, who denies there is a constitutional crisis, claimed that "the participation of Control Yuan members in the national examinations is not specified in the Constitution. It is a legal stipulation, so constitutionality is not at issue."
But is this really the case? To have the legislature neglect to use their right to consent, and for the legislative speaker to have the gall to sit back and watch the Constitution being abused, is really just too much.
Even worse, when Wang says that the participation of Control Yuan members in the national examination is a legal matter is surely tantamount to openly claiming that the Control Act is irrelevant.
It is not to be forgotten that the Control Act was passed through its third reading in the legislature, and if the legislature is to treat it in this way, shouldn't we be concerned that other laws, too, will be accorded such contempt?
Tseng Yuan-chuang (曾永權), executive director of the KMT's policy committee, said, "according to the Constitution, Control Yuan members are responsible for disciplining, impeaching, and investigating, but have no right to supervise the national examinations -- and as far as the Examination Invigilation Act (監試法) is concerned, Control Yuan members have no power in this area."
On the contrary, the Examination Invigilation Act does, in fact, list this as being one of the responsibilities of the Control Yuan. How otherwise would they be able to carry out their duties of disciplining, impeaching and investigating?
This disregard of the Constitution, and of laws, is creating a crisis for the Taiwanese democracy, and the KMT and PFP are criminals in both the face of democracy, and of history.
Chin Heng-wei is editor-in-chief of Contemporary Monthly magazine.
TRANSLATED BY PAUL COOPER