Mon, Jun 02, 2003 - Page 3 News List

KMT rebel blasts party's voting order

TOE THE PARTY LINE?Chen Hung-chang said that a vote at Friday's legislative assembly should have been above any political ideology

By Fiona Lu  /  STAFF REPORTER

A KMT lawmaker yesterday branded the party's mobilization policy "improper" after he disobeyed a caucus order at Friday's legislative assembly.

"The party caucus should not impose political ideology upon lawmakers for issues that should be above politics, such as the confirmation date for grand-justice nominees," Chen Hung-chang (陳宏昌) said.

On Friday, Chen refused to vote with his party for a postponement on the confirmation date for nominees. He sided with pan-green legislators by voting for the Legislative Yuan to finish the confirmation by extended session.

"I had made my position clear against the order to caucus whip Liu Cheng-hung (劉政鴻) and Tseng Yung-chuan (曾永權) before the vote," Chen said. "The legislature must now complete the confirmation and the new grand justices must assume power on Oct. 1.

"The KMT is not a party in which one person alone has the say. The mobilization politicized the legislative jurisdiction," he said.

Despite the vote orders issued by the KMT and PFP, four pan-blue lawmakers -- one from the PFP and three from the KMT -- were absent from the legislative showdown.

Chen, meanwhile, ignored his caucus' instructions when the legislative assembly dealt with the resolution requiring state-owned companies to withdraw their investment from the Taiwan High Speed Railway. He voted no to the resolution.

"The high speed railway project was started in the previous KMT government. I regret the oppositions' stance, which will plunge the construction project into financial difficulty if approved," Chen said. Chen's opinion was met with hostility by the KMT caucus. Party whip Liu said that all mobilization violators will face a disciplinary review after the vote.

The other two KMT absentees were Lee Sen-zong (李顯榮) and Tseng Tsai Mei-tso (曾蔡美佐) who both said they were unable to make the vote.

As for Legislator Yang Fumei (楊富美), the only PFP absentee from the showdown, PFP legislative caucus whip Chung Hsiao-ho (鍾紹和) said yesterday that the lawmaker will face a compulsory disciplinary review.

Chung blasted Chen's decision to vote against his party.

"The lawmaker should carry out his legislative power in accordance with the fact that he is a member of the KMT and he must follow the caucus' decision since the caucus represents the majority opinion," the PFP whip said.

Chung disagreed with Chen's view that the justice review was above the party's political ideology.

"The political chaos within the country demonstrates that no disputes can be resolved without ideological rivalry," he said.

Another controversy relating to the mobilization order took place on Wednesday when members of the Home and Nations Committee engaged in a review of the controversial referendum draft bill.

The review ended with a surprise first reading declared by the convener Chen Chien-ming (陳建銘), a TSU lawmaker whose party is devoted to promoting the referendum legislation.

Chen said he announced the approval in accordance with the legislative procedure law, stipulating that the committee may announce the wrap up of the first examination and pass unfinished draft articles to the second round review at the legislative assembly when members of the committee requested to adjourn the meeting ahead of time.

"I carried out a convener's duty and coped with the request from seven opposition lawmakers to dissolve the meeting by a vote. The opposition have no need to question about the vote credibility since it was the legislative staff, not me, who counted the votes," Chen said.

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