Thu, Sep 30, 2004 - Page 1 News List

Decision on Chen's speech will be postponed for now

By Debby Wu  /  STAFF REPORTER

The legislature's Procedure Committee yesterday rejected the proposal to list the president's request for a state-of-the-nation address for consideration in tomorrow's sitting, and the committee decided to handle the request only after inter-party negotiations are completed today.

This means that the request will be handled by the Procedure Committee next Tuesday at the earliest, and could therefore be scheduled for consideration next Friday.

The Presidential Office delivered the president's request to the Legislative Yuan on Monday, and the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) caucus asked the Procedure Committee yesterday to schedule the request for tomorrow's sitting.

But the chairman for the committee session, Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) Legislator Liao Feng-te (廖風德), said that the committee could only deal with proposals and motions delivered before noon on Monday and since the Presidential Office sent the request in the afternoon, the request could not be listed for consideration tomorrow.

"I propose that since Legislative Speaker Wang Jin-pyng (王金平) already called for an inter-party negotiation tomorrow, we will deal with the request after the negotiation," Liao said.

But since the DPP caucus was opposed to Liao's proposal, Liao called for a vote. With support from pan-blue lawmakers, the request was tentatively put aside, as Liao proposed.

After the session, DPP caucus whip Lee Chun-yee (李俊毅), who is also a member of the committee, said the caucus felt sorry about the pan-blue's boycott.

"The pan-blue caucuses have been demanding that the president come to the Legislative Yuan to debate on and take responsibility for his national policies. And now that the president consents to their proposal, the pan-blue caucuses are boycotting the president's request, and it shows that they are weak opposition parties," Lee said.

Earlier in the morning, the pan-blue caucuses met Wang to inform him of their intention to ask for a constitutional interpretation on the request.

"President Chen reckoned that 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) is unconstitutional, according to the letters he sent to the presidents of all five Yuans. This is a violation of the powers of administration, legislative, and justice," KMT caucus whip Tseng Yung-chuan (曾永權) said.

"President Chen is trying to manipulate the Legislative Yuan, and interfere with the Ministry of Justice, the National Police Agency, and the Grand Justices," People First Party caucus whip Liu Wen-hsiung (劉文雄) said.

In response, Wang said that he respected the right of the pan-blue caucuses to ask for a constitutional interpretation.

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