Amid political bickering and protests outside the Legislative Yuan, the pan-blue-dominated Procedure Committee yesterday once again struck down the NT$610.8 billion Special Arms Budget Statute, diminishing the ruling party's hope of pushing it to committee for review before the legislative elections next month.
People First Party (PFP) Legislator Nelson Ku (
Lee had accused Ku for being inconsistent in his stance on the arms procurement deal. Ku is one of the vehement opponents of the plan. Lee claimed that Ku was in favor of the project when he served as the commander-in-chief of the navy during his tenure of presidency.
Other pan-blue lawmakers, including Lin Hui-kuan (
Well aware of its numerical disadvantage, the ruling Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) withdrew from the meeting in protest of what it called the pan-blue camp's bullying behavior.
Rumor had it that the KMT caucus was going to allow its members to be absent from the meeting, in order to lower the number of pan-blue lawmakers in the Procedure Committee, thereby allowing the pan-green camp to push the arms statute to committee for review before the legislative elections.
But following the DPP's fifth failed attempt to make progress with the statute at the Procedure Committee yesterday, PFP caucus spokesperson Liu Wen-hsiung (
Aside from criticising the cost of the deal, the pan-blue caucuses object to the government's attempt to simultaneously propose both the statute that would make the special budget proposal legal and the budget plan itself.
The Executive Yuan, however, made it clear that it is impossible for the government to withdraw the budget request.
It also dismissed the pan-blue's allegation that the Cabinet violated the law by jointly presenting the draft bill and budget request to the legislature.
"It's a groundless accusation," said Cabinet Spokesman Chen Chi-mai (
"We proposed the draft bill and budget request in accordance with legislation and budget request procedures. Besides, it's not the first time we have proposed a bill and a budget request together," Chen said.