Sun, Jan 22, 2006 - Page 3 News List

Hsieh's NCC request raises ire

FINAL GESTURE Pan-blue legislators denounced the outgoing premier's request for a ruling on the legality of the law establishing the nation's communications watchdog

CNA , TAIPEI

Premier Frank Hsieh holds a portrait of President Chen Shui-bian yesterday while packing for his official departure tomorrow.

PHOTO: WANG YI-SUNG, TAIPEI TIMES

Lawmakers fought a war of words yesterday triggered by outgoing Premier Frank Hsieh's (謝長廷) request that the Council of Grand Justices rule on the legality of the Organic Law of the National Communications Commission (NCC, 國家通訊傳播委員會組織法), his last order before stepping down tomorrow.

The Executive Yuan on Friday asked the Council of Grand Justices to make a constitutional ruling on the organic law of the NCC on the grounds that the law infringed on the executive branch's constitutional powers as well as people's basic rights.

The Cabinet also requested the council freeze the establishment of the NCC, even though the law came into effect on Nov. 9 last year, and its 13 members were approved by the Legislative Yuan in accordance with the law on Jan. 12.

Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) legislators yesterday rebuked Hsieh for "leaving a rotten legacy" for his successor by refusing to appoint the NCC members approved by the legislature.

The KMT lawmakers said that Hsieh had made the appeal for a constitutional explanation and requested the grand justices to freeze the NCC's establishment safe in the knowledge that he would not have to deal with the aftermath of the requests, leaving premier-designate Su Tseng-chang (蘇貞昌) to clean up his mess.

Echoing the criticism, People First Party (PFP) Legislator Liu Wen-hsiung (劉文雄) said that after Su was appointed to head the Executive Yuan, the outgoing premier -- who should by that time be serving only as a caretaker -- should not have made any moves that would affect his successor's administration.

According to the Executive Yuan, the NCC is an administrative agency whose leadership and other members should be appointed by the executive branch of the government, not the legislature.

The legislature's move to deprive the premier of the power to name the NCC's members violates the principles of the division of power and political accountability, the Executive Yuan said.

The key point in the controversy is Article 4 of the law, which stipulates that the premier must name the NCC members based on the recommendations of a "nomination and review committee" which is formed according to each party's proportional representation in the legislature.

Since the pan-blue camp controls the legislature, it is almost certain that the NCC chairman, who is elected by the members, will be someone recommended by the opposition.

Democratic Progressive Party caucus whip Yeh Yi-jin (葉宜津) defended Hsieh's decision, saying that his request for a constitutional ruling was a responsible move and Hsieh had acted out of respect for the constitutional system.

Opposition lawmakers had urged Hsieh to officially appoint the members of the NCC before he leaves office tomorrow.

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