Ruling on Wang suit draws mixed reactions

By Su Fang-ho, Chen Ching-min and Jake Chung  /  Staff reporters, with staff writer

Sat, Sep 14, 2013 - Page 1

The Taipei District Court’s ruling yesterday that Legislative Speaker Wang Jin-pyng (王金平) would retain all his privileges and power as a Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) member drew mixed reactions.

Presidential Office spokesperson Lee Chia-fei (李佳霏) said that the office “respected” the court’s ruling.

KMT spokesperson Yin Wei (殷偉) said that the party would appeal the case.

At press time, none of the party’s senior members could be reached for comment.

The court agreed to allow Wang to retain his privileges as a party member after paying NT$9.38 million (US$314,300) as collateral to the KMT, but rejected a request for a restraining order filed by Wang to to stop the Legislative Yuan from revoking his legislator status.

However, the court said the ruling was not final and that it had only made the ruling to put both parties on an equal legal footing and actually bring the case to court.

Central Election Commission (CEC) Vice Chairman Liu I-chou (劉義周) said that the commission had done its part and had no comment on the Taipei District Court’s ruling on Wang retaining his KMT membership.

It is a legal settlement of a dispute between a party member and his party, Liu said.

When asked by reporters whether the commission would revoke its cancelation of Wang’s legislator status because of the court ruling, Liu said that the commission would not.

Liu cited Article 73 of the Civil Servants Election and Recall Act (公職人員選舉罷免法), which states that legislators-at-large would lose their status as legislators the moment they lost their party membership.

Liu added that after receipt of the party’s documentation that said individual had his membership revoked, it would notify the Legislative Yuan to terminate the individual’s status as a legislator.

Within 15 days after the legislature had notified the commission of having terminated the individual’s legislator status, the commission is to announce the name of the substitute from the list given to the commission at the time of election.

However, there is no stated deadline for the Legislative Yuan to reply to the commission’s first notification, Liu said, adding the commission is only worried that the legislature would not reply to its official notice, leading to a delay in the commission’s announcement of a substitute for Wang.

Meanwhile, the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) said that it hoped the ruling had taught President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) a lesson — that he was neither an arbitrator of justice nor the supervisor of the Legislative Yuan.

DPP caucus secretary-general Wu Ping-jui (吳秉叡) said he hoped Ma would learn that he could not control the Legislative Yuan through political power struggles, and think well of his next move.

The DPP would not let the underhanded tricks the Ma administration has pulled over the past week go unpunished, Wu said, adding that the recent events have only shown that the Ma administration was truly a lame-duck that had to resort to governance through terror.

Premier Jiang Yi-huah (江宜樺) should also step down, Wu said.

Jiang’s comments on the case had only demonstrated his complete disregard for the Legislative Yuan’s dignity, Wu said.

The premier should also take responsibility for his role as Ma’s political hit-man, the DPP lawmaker added.

Wu said he did not know how Jiang could think that he would be warmly received when he makes his report to the Legislative Yuan on Tuesday.

Taiwan Solidarity Union caucus convener Hsu Chung-hsin (許忠信) said he was glad that the judicial system was able to preserve the last vestiges of its independence from the executive branch.

The party hopes the KMT would not pursue this case further, Hsu said.

The ruling has also been a great morale booster for Wang’s family and supporters in the Luzhu District (路竹) of Greater Kaohsiung.

Wenhua Borough warden Chen Kuo-chiang (陳國強) who had left the party to show his support for Wang said that Ma would not stop there.

The KMT headquarters’ Greater Kaohsiung branch also said that many KMT supporters in the area were against Ma’s handling of Wang’s case, but in order to maintain party solidarity, they called on supporters to be “anti-Ma, but not anti-KMT.”

Both New Taipei City Mayor (新北市) Eric Chu (朱立倫) and Taipei City Mayor Hau Lung-bin (郝龍斌) called on the KMT to respect the court’s ruling.

Additional reporting by CNA