Fri, Jun 08, 2007 - Page 3 News List

Lawmakers vote to block change of name

DIFFERENCE OF OPINION KMT Legislator Joanna Lei was both praised and reviled after chairing a meeting which blocked the re-naming of the CKS Memorial Hall

By Ko Shu-ling  /  STAFF REPORTER

Pan-blue and pan-green legislators from the legislature's Organic Laws and Statutes Committee and Education and Culture Committee vote by a show of hands at a joint committee meeting in Taipei yesterday on the issue of changing the name of Chiang Kai-shek Memorial Hall.

PHOTO: LIU HSIN-DE, TAIPEI TIMES

Cashing in on their numerical advantage once again, opposition lawmakers at a joint committee meeting yesterday blocked the proposed name change of Chiang Kai-shek (CKS) Memorial Hall and resolved to refer the education minister and his deputy to the Control Yuan for impeachment.

The ministry unveiled a plaque bearing the name National Taiwan Democracy Memorial Hall last month, but the Taipei City Government argued the ministry had no right to do so. It has since engaged in a legal fight with the ministry over the hall's name.

The meeting, jointly held by the Organic Laws and Statutes Committee and Education and Culture Committee, got off to a bad start when Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Legislator Wang Tuoh (王拓) proposed postponing the review of two new organizational codes for the National Taiwan Democracy Memorial Hall until the abolition of the law governing the CKS Memorial Hall comes before the committee.

Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) Legislator Joanna Lei (雷倩), who chaired the meeting, said it would make more sense to tackle one bill at a time.

DPP Legislator Wang Sing-nan (王幸男) said the issue had become politically sensitive and that the committee would "put the cart before the horse" if it reviewed bills that lack a consensus.

Lee announced a break for negotiations, but Lei disappeared when DPP committee members began to indulge in tirades.

Lei did not return until 10:25am and immediately called a vote on the DPP motion. Committee members voted 14 to 13 against the motion.

Amid a disturbance among committee members, Vice Minister of Education Chou Tsan-der (周燦德) delivered a report on the ministry's proposed bills concerning the memorial hall.

Pan-blue lawmakers argued that using funds for the renamed hall that had been earmarked for the hall under its previous name was illegal. The new title, they added, was illegitimate as it had not been approved by the legislature, which in turn invalidates the bills.

The education ministry, on the other hand, argued that the new title was not subject to legislative approval.

The bills seek to define the duties and authority of hall administrators under the hall's new title.

Lei called another vote on KMT Legislator Kuo Su-chun's (郭素春) motion to skip the debate and vote on the two bills. The committee voted 13 to zero in favor of Kuo's proposal.

DPP members then swarmed forward to the podium, complaining about various issues ranging from the voting procedure to the committee's authority to review the bills.

When Lei called another vote to decide the fate of the two proposed bills, committee members voted 13 to 4 in favor of striking them down.

While pan-blue lawmakers were clapping, cheering and praising Lei's "judiciousness," pan-green members pounded their tables and called her an "autocrat."

The committee passed a resolution referring Chou and Minister of Education Tu Cheng-sheng (杜正勝) to the Control Yuan for impeachment. The Control Yuan, however, has been inactive for more than two years since opposition parties refused to confirm President Chen Shui-bian's (陳水扁) nominees.

In response, Tu criticized the committees for expanding legislative power.

Taipei Mayor Hau Lung-bin (郝龍斌), meanwhile, said the city government respected the legislature's decision.

DPP lawmakers later requested a reconsideration of yesterday's review of the two bills.

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