Sun, Jul 22, 2007 - Page 3 News List

Ma defends Wang in face of criticism by KMT legislators

FRUSTRATED After the legislature failed to vote on a KMT-introduced bill, some lawmakers panned the legislative speaker for `insufficient' efforts

By Mo Yan-chih  /  STAFF REPORTER

Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) presidential candidate Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) yesterday defended Legislative Speaker Wang Jin-pyng (王金平) after some KMT legislators accused Wang of stalling the draft amendment to the Organic Law of the Central Election Commission (中央選舉委員會組織法).

The legislature passed an integrated pension bill and two long-delayed budget bills for the current fiscal year on Friday, but the KMT-introduced Central Election Commission (CEC) bill failed to pass the legislature, prompting some KMT legislators to slam Wang for "insufficient negotiation efforts."

"The key issue was the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP), not Speaker Wang. The DPP should be condemned for blocking the vote with force," Ma said yesterday before attending the KMT's central evaluation committee at Hua Chia Building.

Standing next to Ma, Wang said that he had attempted to negotiate with the Executive Yuan and the DPP repeatedly over the bill.

Since the CEC has already combined a referendum with next year's presidential election and has blocked legislative and presidential elections from being held concurrently, passing the bill is not urgent at this time, he said.

"We should just continue efforts to legalize the CEC and stop blaming each other," Wang said.

On Friday, the pan-green camp occupied the legislative floor and pulled the microphone away from Wang in a bid to block a vote on the CEC bill. Wang adjourned the legislature at 10pm without initiating a vote on the bill.

KMT Legislator Alex Fai (費鴻泰) said separately yesterday that Wang should have wielded more authority as the legislative speaker.

"When someone deliberately disregarded legislative procedure, Wang should have called in the police to help the session proceed smoothly," he said, adding that Wang should have called for a vote on the CEC bill.

The CEC bill would require that CEC members be nominated by parties in proportion to their number of legislative seats, replacing the current system under which they are appointed by the premier.

DPP legislators yesterday said pro-Ma KMT lawmakers were looking for opportunities to criticize Wang, who is reputedly at odds with Ma, creating a divide within the KMT.

Ma and Wang yesterday said that they were not at odds with each other and would meet soon to discuss key political issues.

Additional reporting by Flora Wang

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