Tue, Oct 23, 2007 - Page 3 News List

Examination Yuan to seek interpretation

ADDITIONAL EXPENDITURES Amendments to four laws would add NT$170 billion to the government's budget by raising benefits to police, teachers and civil servants.

By Shih Hsiu-chuan  /  STAFF REPORTERS

The Examination Yuan will file a request for a constitutional interpretation by the Council of Grand Justices over recent amendments to several laws that would impose a heavy financial burden on the treasury, Examination Yuan Deputy Secretary-General Tsai Liang-wen (蔡良文) said yesterday.

"The Ministry of Civil Service is still polishing the request for the interpretation, which is expected to be sent to the Judicial Yuan [today] at the latest," Tsai said.

The Examination Yuan has questioned the constitutionality of the latest amendments to the Police Personnel Management regulation (警察人員管理條例), the Statute Governing the Retirement of School Faculty (學校職員退休條例), the National Sports Act (國民體育法) and the Local Government Act (地方制度法), Tsai said.

The amendments were aimed at raising benefits for police, teachers and public servants. The four bills passed the legislature in June.

The Examination Yuan said the four bills would cost the government a total of NT$170 billion (US$5 billion).

Tsai said the Examination Yuan believes the amendments are unconstitutional because they usurp its authority to make adjustments to such benefits.

"The four bills infringe upon the authority of the Examination Yuan," Tsai said.

Tsai said that amendments may have violated Article 70 of the Constitution, which states that the legislature shall not make proposals for an increase in the expenditure in the budgetary bill presented by the Executive Yuan.

Examination Yuan Secretary-General Chang Chun-yen (張俊彥) denied speculation the request for a constitutional interpretation was related to next year's elections.

"All four bills are not about politics. A constitutional interpretation should be treated rationally," Chang said.

But People First Party Legislator Chang Hsien-yao (張顯耀), who also serves as director of the party's policy research center, lashed out at the Examination Yuan and threatened to boycott both its budget for next year and that of the Ministry of Civil Service.

Chang told a press conference that the move could lead to conflict between the legislature and the Examination Yuan.

He said the Constitution stipulates that any controversy between different branches of government should be mediated by the president, and not resolved through a constitutional interpretation.

Chang said that if the Examination Yuan was seeking a constitutional interpretation because it believed the laws were passed to please certain groups of people, the legislature could use the same rationale to block bills such as arms procurement budgets.

Citing budget statistics from the National Police Administration (NPA) for this fiscal year and next, Chang rebutted Minister of Civil Service Chu Wu-hsien's (朱武獻) comment that the increase in police benefits could cost the government and extra NT$100 billion next year.

The NPA's personnel budget for this year is about NT$15.2 billion while the budget for next year is 15.3 billion, he said.

"The Examination Yuan misinterpreted the Constitution and the laws. I hereby condemn the Examination Yuan," Chang said, calling on Examination Yuan President Chia-wen (姚嘉文) to step down.

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