A Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) lawmaker said yesterday that 30 lawmakers had endorsed his proposal to invite President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) to make a national report at the Legislative Yuan and to submit to a question-and-answer session.
DPP Legislator Wu Ping-jui (吳秉叡) said that his move was part of efforts to establish a “constitutional precedent” for a governance system with matching power and responsibilities.
Wu said that Ma had promised during his election campaign to visit the legislature in person to make a national report and to listen to the opinions of opposition parties and different social groups and incorporate their input into future policies.
Using the ongoing US beef issue as an example, Wu said Ma had completely changed his attitude on the issue after his re-election and should therefore explain the sudden change to legislators and the public.
“One of the principles of democratic politics is transparency,” Wu added. “Since the president will guide the policymaking, he should report policy changes and options to the legislature.”
DPP legislative caucus whip Ker Chien-ming (柯建銘) said he had expressed the hope several times that Ma would take the initiative to report to the legislature.
Now that so many legislators have expressed the same view, Ma should “take the ball” and should not respond passively by “waiting for a legislative resolution,” he said, adding that Ma should also answer every question posed by legislators, which he said “would show Ma’s sincerity about leaving an historical legacy.”
People First Party legislative caucus convener Lee Tung-hao (李桐豪) said at a separate setting yesterday that his caucus supported the call for the president to deliver a “state of the nation” address in the legislature, adding it hoped a time could be arranged following the president’s address for the lawmakers to make comments.
Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) Legislator Lin Hung-chih (林鴻池), head of the party’s Policy Committee, said the Legislative Yuan could invite the president to deliver a report and that the KMT would respect such a proposal.
However, if the president delivered such a report, it would set a precedent, so that the matter has to be dealt with “cautiously and seriously,” he added.
He also said that under the Constitution, the legislators did not have the right to question the president.
Legislative Speaker Wang Jin-pyng (王金平) said there were dual channels for Ma to report to the legislature — one is through legislative resolution and the other is when the Presidential Office asks for the consent of the legislature.
“Everything must go according to procedure, but no one has yet made a request,” Wang said
Under the act governing the functioning of the Legislative Yuan, if a proposal, with the endorsement of more than one-quarter of the lawmakers, is approved by the legislature, then its Procedure Committee should set up a schedule for the president to make a national report on important policies.
In response to the DPP lawmakers’ move, Presidential Office spokesman Fan Chiang Tai-chi (范姜泰基) said Ma would respect the legislature’s decision.