The Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) yesterday announced that it would not appeal the ruling of the Taiwan High Court maintaining an injunction to preserve Legislative Speaker Wang Jin-pyng’s (王金平) KMT membership, amid controversy over a probe into alleged improper lobbying by Wang.
The move is seen as a gesture from President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) and the KMT to engineer a reconciliation with Wang, as he would be able to temporarily maintain his membership and position as legislative speaker until a final ruling is handed down.
“President Ma knows that many party members support his stance of opposing improper lobbying and he also heard their concerns about the political situation. He hopes to maintain political stability, while clarifying the [alleged improper lobbying] incident,” KMT spokesman Yin Wei (殷瑋) said.
The KMT was entitled to file an appeal against the Taiwan High Court’s decision with the Supreme Court by Friday.
The legal battle between Wang and the KMT began when Wang filed a civil suit at the Taipei District Court on Sept. 11 to request an injunction against the KMT’s revocation of his membership.
The district court ruled on Sept. 13 that Wang could retain his rights as a party member until a final ruling, on the condition that he pays a NT$9.38 million (US$315,000) guarantee. The KMT immediately appealed to the Taiwan High Court and lost the appeal on Tuesday.
Yin said injunctions typically deal with procedural problems and the issue of Wang’s party membership should be resolved via the lawsuit itself. The KMT will wait for the court to hand down a final ruling on whether Wang should maintain his party membership.
“President Ma continued to stress that a legislative speaker’s [alleged] involvement in improper lobbying is a serious matter in any democratic country and it is his responsibility to handle it,” Yin said.
The Ma administration has softened its stance in the past week, while the political rift between Ma and Wang persists.
Premier Jiang Yi-huah (江宜樺) on Friday also took the initiative to talk to Wang about the month-long political impasse, as a friendly gesture.
Ma and Wang are scheduled to meet during the Double Ten National Day celebrations in front of the Presidential Office Building on Thursday.
Commenting on the KMT’s decision, Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Legislator Kao Jyh-peng (高志鵬) said the move might be a result of its consideration that if it continued to “ruthlessly” proceed with its “Wang elimination plan,” it would negatively affect prosecutors who are looking into allegations that Prosecutor-General Huang Shih-ming (黃世銘) leaked details to Ma of an investigation concerning Wang’s alleged improper lobbying.
DPP caucus whip Ker Chien-ming (柯建銘), who was allegedly involved in the alleged improper lobbying case, said Ma should apologize to the public over the matter, remove Jiang as premier and seek a reconsolidation with opposition parties.
Additional reporting by Rich Chang