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.
PHOTO: LIU HSIN-DE, TAIPEI TIMES
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 (
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 (
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 (
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 (
DPP lawmakers later requested a reconsideration of yesterday's review of the two bills.
As a result, they will need to be reviewed again when the joint committee is next convened.
Given the reconsideration request, the pan-blues would not be able to send the two bills to the plenary session for second and third readings before they are tackled by the committee.
Additional reporting by Mo Yan-chih,
Max Hirsch and Shih Hsiu-chuan
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