All eyes to be on legislature on Tuesday

EXPECTING FIREWORKS?:KMT infighting is likely to be on everyone’s minds if the premier makes his expected report to lawmakers, watched over by Wang Jin-pyng

By Chris Wang  /  Staff reporter

Sat, Sep 14, 2013 - Page 1

The opening day of the new legislative session on Tuesday is expected to attract far more attention than previous opening days with the public focusing on Legislative Speaker Wang Jin-pyng (王金平) and Premier Jiang Yi-huah (江宜樺) amid the political feuding within the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT).

Embroiled in one of the most fierce political controversies in recent memory, in which the KMT tried to remove him from the legislature for alleged illegal lobbying, Wang convened a party negotiation yesterday morning to discuss Jiang’s scheduled report to the legislature.

Party caucuses reached a consensus that Jiang would be invited to deliver a report — a traditional practice for every new legislative session — on Tuesday.

Wang’s presence at the negotiations was in question after his party membership was revoked by the KMT’s Central Evaluation and Discipline Committee on Wednesday.

According to the KMT, that meant Wang immediately lost his position as a legislator–at-large and therefore the speakership.

The 72-year-old, who was awaiting a final ruling from the Taipei District Court on his appeal to retain KMT membership, insisted that he was still speaker.

“I’m going to do my job as long as I am still the legislative speaker,” Wang told reporters in the morning.

Jiang stepped into the controversy, which has been widely seen as a well-planned vendetta by President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) when he echoed Ma’s condemnation of Wang’s alleged illegal lobbying and said last week that Wang “was no longer competent for the legislative speaker position” and “we are ready for a Legislative Yuan without speaker Wang.”

Jiang’s comments have drawn strong criticism and accusations that he is contemptuous of the legislative branch and has breached the principle of the separation of powers as stipulated by the Constitution.

The premier is expected to face a difficult situation when he delivers a report to a legislative plenary session chaired by Wang rather than Deputy Speaker Hung Hsiu-chu (洪秀柱), who is said to be Ma’s preferred candidate to succeed Wang as speaker, after the Taipei District Court upheld Wang’s provisional injunction against the KMT.

The ruling means that Wang would still be speaker when the new session begins on Tuesday.

The KMT notified the Central Election Committee (CEC) right after the announcement that Wang’s party membership had been revoked, as the committee subsequently asked the legislature to void Wang’s position, a procedure that would officially oust him from the legislature.

However, the Legislative Yuan Secretariat has not completed that procedure.

Opposition party caucuses support Wang staying on, with Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) caucus whip Ker Chien-ming (柯建銘) saying that a speaker should be unseated by lawmakers rather than a political party.

Wang would hold the speakership until his KMT membership is nullified by a court in future rulings, Taiwan Solidarity Union caucus whip Hsu Chung-hsin (許忠信) said.

“If Jiang makes his report to the legislature as scheduled, it means the premier endorses Wang’s position as speaker,” Hsu added.