Wed, Nov 15, 2006 - Page 3 News List

Pan-blue lawmakers boycott review of arms budget, presidential nominees

By Shih Hsiu-chuan  /  STAFF REPORTER

A lawmaker on the Procedure Committee covers his ears yesterday as a shouting match erupted over issues connected to the ``state affairs fund'' and the special expense fund for local government heads. The committee once again blocked the arms procurement bill and the Control Yuan nominations from being submitted to the legislature for review.

PHOTO: LIAO CHEN-HUEI, TAIPEI TIMES

Pan-blue lawmakers yesterday again boycotted a NT$6.27 billion (US$191.2 million) supplemental budget for purchasing three weapons systems from the US in the Procedure Committee.

A motion to block the supplemental budget, together with other long-stalled bills, was proposed by the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) and backed by the People First Party (PFP).

Democratic Progressive Party Legislator Tsai Chi-fang (蔡啟芳) said that as the PFP had persisted in opposing the arms package, it was unlikely that the bill would be put on the legislative agenda before the mayoral elections early next month.

Other long-stalled proposals, including President Chen Shui-bian's (陳水扁) nominations for the nation's top prosecutor's post and Control Yuan members, were blocked as well.

State Public Prosecutor-General Wu Ying-chao (吳英昭) has offered to resign to take responsibility for the uproar over vote-buying allegations ahead of last December's local government elections.

However, Wu's resignation has yet to be accepted because of the legislature's delay in approving a replacement.

Chen's previous nominee, Taiwan High Court Prosecutor-General Hsieh Wen-ding (謝文定), failed to receive the legislature's endorsement in April.

Pan-blue lawmakers last week agreed that they would start to review Chen's new nominee, Chen Tsung-ming (陳聰明), the chief prosecutor of the Taiwan High Court's Kaohsiung branch, but changed their minds yesterday.

"A president who is involved in corruption [allegations] is not qualified to nominate the nation's top prosecutor," KMT Legislator Lee Yung-ping (李永萍) said.

The delay in approving the president's nominees for the Control Yuan has rendered the public watchdog over the four other branches of government idle since the term of the last members expired in January last year.

Meanwhile, a government-sponsored bill for amending the Organic Law of the National Communications Commission (國家通訊傳訊委員會), including four articles concerning the composition of the commission members -- which were ruled unconstitutional in July by the Council of Grand Justices -- was also blocked in the committee meeting.

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