Sat, Jul 26, 2003 - Page 2 News List

Speaker to host new negotiations

By Fiona Lu  /  STAFF REPORTER

Legislative Speaker Wang Jin-pyng (王金平) decided yesterday to host a multiparty negotiating session on Monday to resolve a dispute among lawmakers over carrying out legislative surveillance of the Cabinet's appropriation of a special anti-SARS budget.

Wang settled on the negotiating plan after his meeting with opposition KMT and PFP legislators yesterday morning.

He hopes to mediate on a diversity of opinions among ruling and opposition lawmakers about whether Premier Yu Shyi-kun should attend a meeting convened by a supervisory committee at the Legislative Yuan to monitor the Executive Yuan's implementation of the NT$50 billion budget designed to reinforce the government's capability to control and prevent the spread of SARS.

The supervisory committee members had a fruitless fourth meeting yesterday morning due to continuing quarrelling in Yu's absence.

Pan-blue lawmakers contended that Yu was obliged to be present at the meeting, as requested by the lawmakers.

"The Executive Yuan's inability to join the meeting was an insult to lawmakers, as the approval of the NT$50-billion budget turned into a blank check issued by the legislature, because of no power of surveillance," said PFP Legislator Lee Yong-ping (李永萍).

The meeting, included in an additional resolution from lawmakers when the Legislative Yuan gave its go-ahead to the budgetary bill on May 23, should take place at all costs, even during the summer recess of the legislative session.

Its purpose is to monitor the Executive Yuan's implementation of the budget and further audit administration is required to report to lawmakers on the supervisory committee either in writing or oral presentation.

"The conclusion to form the supervisory committee was a mistake initially made by lawmakers adopting the additional resolution," DPP Legislator Wang Sing-nan (王幸男) said.

Wang explained that the pledged surveillance was beyond lawmakers' jurisdiction.

"The Law Governing Legislators' Exercise of Power (立法院職權行使法) does not entitle lawmakers to set up a supervisory committee for such surveillance. The legislature cannot create a new law simply by formulating a legislative resolution," he said.

Wang's fellow Legislator Lai Ching-te (賴清德) argued that lawmakers may have violated the Constitution by demanding the premier's presence at the committee meeting.

"The committee neither was one of the 12 standing legislative committees nor an ad hoc committee as stipulated by the Organic Law of the Legislative Yuan (立法院組織法). Demanding the premier's attendance at an informal meeting out of a legislative session conflicts with the laws and the Constitution," Lai said.

The legislative speaker, nonetheless, appealed for mutual respect between the Executive Yuan and lawmakers.

"I agree with DPP Legislator Ker Chien-ming (柯建銘) that the final resolution of such a dispute is to petition for a constitutional interpretation.

"But before that, the Executive Yuan should accept the legislative surveillance in compliance with the Constitution and the premier should attend the meeting, or send his deputy to the meeting, to show a minimum amount of respect from the Cabinet," Wang said.

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