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Tue, May 23, 2000 - Page 3 News List

Tang's health may delay interpellation

HEALTH MATTERS The legislature has been brainstorming ways of dealing with the arduous questioning session so as not to put too much strain on the recovering premier

By Stephanie Low  /  STAFF REPORTER

Premier Tang waves to cameras yesterday as he arrives for his first day at work. Tang will work a reduced schedule until he recovers from recent surgery.


In light of Premier Tang Fei's (唐飛) health condition, Legislative Yuan speaker Wang Jin-pyng (王金平) yesterday said the legislature is prepared to adjust the new Cabinet's interpellation schedule.

Tang is set to deliver the Executive Yuan's semi-annual policy report to the legislature on June 2.

The policy report is conventionally followed by the general interpellation session, during which the premier and other Cabinet members are to answer questions posed by legislators.

However, as Tang has still not fully recovered from recent surgery, some legislators have proposed delaying the interpellation session.

Wang said yesterday that he has had his staff work out several plans to cope with the situation, including postponing the interpellation session or holding the session in an intermittent format.

Wang said inter-party negotiations will be held at the end of this month to discuss which plan to adopt, depending on the progress of Tang's recovery.

Tang underwent surgery on April 15 to remove a benign tumor from his chest, and had originally been dismissed from the hospital after a two-week recuperation. However, he returned to hospital on May 3 after suffering complications.

Tang's doctor has suggested that he work every other day, for half a day on each occasion, until he has fully recovered.

The DPP caucus has proposed letting Vice Premier Yu Shyi-kun fill in for Tang during the interpellation session, but all other opposition parties, including the KMT, People First Party (PFP) and New Party have expressed their disapproval of the idea.

Lin Chien-jung (林建榮), secretary-general of the KMT caucus, which still enjoys a majority in the legislature, said it would be better to tailor the schedule with Tang's health in mind.

"Our caucus definitely won't consent to letting the vice premier stand in [for Tang]," Lin said.

Chiu Chuang-liang (邱創良), convener of the PFP caucus, said the interpellation session should proceed as scheduled on June 2, unless the Executive Yuan officially proposes delaying the session.

"The Executive Yuan must back its proposal with a proper excuse," Chiu said. "A responsible government is obligated to perform its duties."

Lee Wen-chung (李文忠), deputy convener-in-chief of the DPP caucus, said the DPP hopes the session will be postponed until Tang is well enough to deal with the rigors of his position.

The DPP caucus will also try to convince most of its members to give up their right to question the premier so as to shorten the duration of the entire session, Lee said.

However, Lee said he isn't optimistic about the plan because the legislators will probably be unwilling to forego the opportunity to publicly question the premier and Cabinet.

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