Sun, Mar 12, 2006 - Page 3 News List

Camps split on presidential talk to the legislature

UNEVEN WELCOME The pan-green camp backed Chen's request to address the legislature, but pan-blues are insisting on a chance to question him

By Jimmy Chuang  /  STAFF REPORTER

Pan-blue lawmakers yesterday said they would not welcome a report by President Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁) to the legislature if he refuses to take questions after his speech.

Pan-green legislators countered that the president is not obligated by the Constitution to be questioned by lawmakers.

Legislative Speaker Wang Jin-pyng (王金平) yesterday confirmed that the Legislative Yuan had received a written request from the Presidential Office for the president to deliver a national report at the legislature.

Wang said that cross-party negotiations will be held on Thursday to decide whether to let the president deliver his report.

The report would touch on the ceasing of the National Unification Guidelines and the National Unification Council, and the president was not planning on being questioned by the legislature.

"If that is the case, why bother? I don't think he needs to come," People First Party (PFP) caucus whip Lu Hsueh-chang (呂學樟) said.

When the National Assembly still existed, the president, according to the Constitution, would accept questions from assembly members after he finished his report.

However, the Constitution does not say that the president must do the same with lawmakers.

Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) caucus deputy secretary-general Tsai Chin-lung (蔡錦隆) said that Premier Su Tseng-chang (蘇貞昌) had already briefed the legislature on the same topic.

"If the president is planning to repeat the same thing, I don't think it's necessary," Tsai said.

Taiwan Solidarity Union (TSU) caucus whip David Huang (黃適卓) encouraged pan-blue lawmakers to endorse the TSU's call for a new constitution if they wanted the president to be required to take questions.

"By law, the president does not have to be questioned by the legislature. If our pan-blue friends feel that this is ridiculous, the only way to solve the problem would be to amend the Constitution or write a new one," Huang said.

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