Wed, Sep 15, 2004 - Page 1 News List

Pan-blues win vote on probe bill

VETO REJECTED Although the DPP said it would ask the Council of Grand Justices to review the statute, the president may still have to sign it into law

By Debby Wu  /  STAFF REPORTER

Opposition lawmakers celebrate their victory as the Legislative Yuan rejects the Executive Yuan's request to reconsider the March 19 Shooting Truth Investigation Special Committee Statute last night, with 114 lawmakers voting to uphold the bill.

PHOTO: CHIANG YING-YING, TAIPEI TIMES

The Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) vowed to appeal to the Council of Grand Justices for a constitutional interpretation after the legislature yesterday rejected the Executive Yuan's request to reconsider a controversial statute authorizing the formation of a committee probing the March 19 shootings.

"We will apply to the Judicial Yuan for a constitutional interpretation on the statute tomorrow," DPP caucus whip Lee Chun-yee (李俊毅) said.

The vote ensures the imminent promulgation of the statute, which mandates the formation of the investigative committee.

According to the Constitution, the president has to promulgate a law within 10 days after the Legislative Yuan delivers the bill to the Presidential Office.

The Executive Yuan had asked the legislature to reconsider the March 19 Shooting Truth Investigation Special Committee Statute (三一九槍擊事件真相調查特別委員會條例) because of concern that it might violate the Constitution and encroach on the judicial system.

The legislature handled the reconsideration request on the first day of its last session yesterday.

A total of 114 lawmakers voted in favor of the statute.

To override a Cabinet veto, at least 109 lawmakers -- a simple majority of the 217 seats in the 225-seat legislature that are presently filled -- have to vote in favor of the statute. Although the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) and the People First Party (PFP) caucuses together have 112 members, the two caucuses only managed to secure 108 votes yesterday, and would not have managed to reject the request were it not for support from the Non-Partisan Solidarity Union (NPSU).

The NPSU contributed five votes, and independent Legislator Su Yin-kuei (蘇盈貴) also voted against the reconsideration request.

The failure to invalidate the bill came as an expected but still heavy blow to the DPP, and both the DPP and Taiwan Solidarity Union (TSU) caucuses said that they would not give up their fight against the statute. They said they would apply to the Council of Grand Justices for an interpretation on the statute.

"If the pan-green camp wins a majority of seats in the legislative elections, the TSU caucus will propose that the statute be amended," TSU caucus whip Huang Chung-yung (黃宗源) said.

The DPP and the TSU caucuses both criticized the pan-blue camp for rejecting the reconsideration request and asked the public to use their votes in the legislative elections to denounce the pan-blue politicians who voted against the request. They also said they would not nominate any members for the committee.

However, the DPP's application for a constitutional interpretation will not prevent the statute being signed into law, as it is unlikely that the Council of Grand Justices will reach a decision before the president is required to promulgate the statute.

The committee would consist of members drawn from outside the legislature, the Control Yuan or other government agencies and state-run businesses.

The DPP can appoint six members from outside these circles, the KMT five, the PFP four, the TSU one and the NPSU one.

The statute stipulates that the committee has the right to investigate all criminal matters relating to the March 19 shooting, and that it will enjoy powers similar to those of prosecutors when conducting investigations.

The pan-blue camp, meanwhile, worked hard to ensure its triumph. With KMT Chairman Lien Chan (連戰) present at the party's caucus meeting in the morning, the caucus decided that members who did not vote according to the party line would be kicked out of the party.

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