Thu, Jan 21, 2016 - Page 1 News List

Legislative speaker to be neutral: DPP

FREETHINKING SPEAKER:The DPP said the decreased influence of a party over the legislative speaker would serve to guarantee the viability of the political system

By Chen Hui-ping, Aaron Tu and Jake Chung  /  Staff reporters, with staff writer

President-elect Tsai Ing-wen, left, and vice president-elect Chen Chien-jen yesterday talk to the media in Taipei after attending the Democratic Progressive Party’s first Central Standing Committee meeting since Saturday’s elections.

Photo: Lo Pei-der, Taipei Times

The first Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Central Standing Committee meeting chaired by president-elect Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) yesterday affirmed that the new legislative speaker would remain neutral and not be at the whim of the party.

“The legislative speaker will not attend party events, will not hold positions within the party and will not be present in negotiations between political parties,” DPP spokesperson Juan Chao-hsiung (阮昭雄) told a post-meeting press conference.

Specifically, the person holding the position would not attend party events, the DPP Central Standing Committee meetings, national congress meetings, parades and social activism events otherwise hosted by the party and cannot stump for the party nominees in elections, Juan said.

The individual would not hold any position in the party and would refrain from attending bipartisan negotiations in the legislature, or between the legislature and the Executive Yuan, unless their presence is mandated under the Constitution or is otherwise approved by the president, Juan said.

The strict neutrality of the legislative speaker is one of the five political reforms the DPP is aiming for, Juan said, adding that the decreased influence of the party over the legislative speaker would serve to keep the individual clear of party squabbles and guarantee the viability of the political system.

Voters have handed the DPP its first majority in the legislature and the party should live up to public expectations and implement legislative reforms, Juan said.

While Tsai affirmed that she would respect the DPP legislative caucus’ autonomy, she said her focus is not on whom holds the position of legislative speaker, but how the individual could remain neutral.

Meanwhile, Central Standing Committee member Frank Hsieh (謝長廷), a former premier, suggested that the DPP’s caucus should, despite Tsai’s respect for its autonomy, nonetheless discuss who would best suit the position of legislative speaker.

Hsieh said that in the past, the DPP caucus and the committe were parallel organizations, but in light of the Chinese Nationalist Party’s (KMT) caucus choosing to bow to party will over public opinion, the DPP must look to a new system to avoid repeating those mistakes.

While political commentators point to the alleged support of both the Hsieh faction and the Tsai faction for legislator-at-large-elect Su Jia-chyuan (蘇嘉全) to become legislative speaker, Hsieh yesterday said in a Facebook post that he has not committed his support to any individual nor has he expressed such an opinion to the media.

The party should remain unified like it was before the election results and look to implement Tsai’s policies, Hsieh said, adding that any decision reached without negotiation could give the party a bad public image and sour its supporters’ expectations.

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