The Taipei District Court yesterday ruled in favor of Legislative Speaker Wang Jin-pyng (王金平) retaining his Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) membership after the party moved in September last year to revoke it for his alleged role in a high-profile influence-peddling case.
The KMT is able to appeal the ruling to the Taiwan High Court, the district court said.
The KMT revoked Wang’s membership amid allegations he used his influence to sway decisions in a legal case, a move that could have cost his seat as a KMT legislator-at-large and therefore the speakership, a position he has held since 1999.
However, Wang swiftly took legal action against the party, obtaining a court injunction on Sept. 13 that allowed him to remain in the KMT and retain his rights as a party member pending a formal judicial ruling.
The injunction required Wang to post a NT$9.38 million (then US$315,000) guarantee.
Wang also filed a civil lawsuit asking the court to confirm the validity of his party membership on the grounds that he had been unfairly treated by the KMT.
Taipei District Court spokesperson Lai Chien-yi (賴劍毅) yesterday told a press conference that the Civil Associations Act (人民團體法) requires that revocation of membership in a civil association be approved by a meeting attended by all the organization’s members or a meeting attended by members’ representatives.
As a political party under the Civil Associations Act, the KMT has to abide by the act, Lai said.
While the KMT’s Central Evaluation and Discipline Committee had approved the decision to revoke Wang’s membership, the district court believes the committee’s process violated democratic principle and the Civil Associations Act, so it ruled against the KMT, he said.
However, an attorney for the KMT, Lo Min-ton (羅明通), said that the act does not apply to the KMT’s, or any political party’s, revocation of membership because it would be impossible for a political party to convene a conference of all of its members to vote whether to revoke a person’s membership.
Ten of the 12 members on the discipline committee voted to revoke Wang’s membership, which was was a majority and in accordance with democratic principles, Lo said.
He was bewildered by the ruling, Lo said, adding that he and the party would study the possibility of an appeal.
Meanwhile, Wang thanked the judges for upholding the rule of law in a democracy and safeguarding human rights. He also urged the ruling and opposition parties to concentrate their efforts on boosting public welfare and the economy under the leadership of President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九), who doubles as KMT chairman.
Wang’s attorney, Hsu Ying-chieh (許英傑), thanked the judges for their “just” ruling and for the concern shown by “all quarters of society” over the past six months.
Additional reporting by CNA