Sun, Jul 13, 2003 - Page 1 News List

Wang Jin-pyng defends shut-down

RAISED HACKLES The legislative speaker denied siding with the DPP when he closed down the three-day extraordinary session before a vote was held on the referendum

By Chang Yun-Ping  /  STAFF REPORTER

Facing fierce criticism from within the pan-blue camp about his handling of the controversial referendum law, Legislative Speaker Wang Jin-pyng (王金平) yesterday defended the legitimacy of his moderating and denounced opposition lawmakers for being ignorant about legislative procedures.

"I was acting according to the Law Governing the Legislature's Exercise of Power (立法院職權行使法) to refer the referendum bill to inter-party consultations amid disagreement among parties. Those lawmakers who have accused me of conspiring with the pan-green camp by abandoning the referendum bill in this legislative session were simply ignorant of legislative procedures," Wang said.

Wang made the comments yesterday at a training camp at the Lee Teng-hui School established by former president Lee Teng-hui (李登輝) while addressing members of the institution.

As the KMT's vice chairman, Wang has stirred up resentment among his KMT colleagues after he closed the session before the legislature had a chance to consider DPP Legislator Trong Chai's (蔡同榮) version of the referendum bill.

A small tussle even broke out between Wang and the KMT's legislative caucus leader Lee Chia-chin (李嘉進), who forcefully took away an adjourning announcement from Wang to prevent him from halting the referendum bill in the next legislative session.

KMT lawmakers Wang Chung-yu (王鍾渝) and Hung Hsiu-chu (洪秀柱), as well as PFP legislative caucus whip Chiu Yi (邱毅) all chided Wang for compromising with the DPP.

The referendum bill was killed in the three-day legislative extraordinary session which ended last Thursday after the pan-blue bloc made a last minute turnabout in its stance to support the bill.

Wang refuted accusations that he had been collaborating with the green camp.

"There wasn't any partisan judgment when I ruled to close the session. My actions were based on a law that stipulates that the bill should be reviewed through inter-party consultations for a maximum of four months until an agreement is reached. My judgment was based solely on the interests of the country," Wang said, adding that "the reactions of some lawmakers are simply their personal opinions."

He also said "as a long-term KMT member, I would never do anything that would harm the party that has nurtured me for so long."

Speaking at the Lee Teng-hui School, Wang said he is often requested to deliver speeches on legislative reform.

Meanwhile, Wang yesterday questioned the wisdom of the idea of cutting the number of lawmakers from 225 to 113 -- a proposal advocated by the DPP.

Cutting the number of seats by half could lead to problems in practice, Wang said, noting for example that there are 12 standing committees in the Legislative Yuan and that dividing the 113 lawmakers among them would leave each committee with 11 or 12 members.

As each committee can operate with only one-third of the committee members in attendance, Wang asked whether it is appropriate "to allow three or four lawmakers to decide on bills of great importance to the country."Also See Story:

Newsmaker: Wang front and center during session

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