President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) yesterday said that whether he will give a state of the nation address to the Legislative Yuan depends on the Constitution, adding that it clearly states the duties of the president and that he should be in the second line when facing the legislature.
Under the Constitution, the Executive Yuan and not the president is responsible to the legislature, Ma said, adding that this is why he will not preside over a Cabinet meeting nor will he lead Cabinet members to report to the legislature.
However, in other matters, the president should be “in the front line facing the people, because I was elected by the people,” Ma said.
The Constitution stipulates that the legislature can listen to the president’s state of the nation report in its annual meeting, although no president has ever given one before. Ma made the remarks while presiding over a changeover ceremony of Cabinet members at the Presidential Office.
Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Legislator Wu Ping-jui (吳秉叡) proposed on Friday that Ma should deliver such a report to the legislature, saying that he had obtained the endorsement of more than 30 legislators for the proposal.
DPP caucus whip Ker Chien-ming (柯建銘) also said at the time that Ma should answer questions posed by legislators, which he said “would show Ma’s sincerity in leaving a historical legacy.”
Legislators from the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT), which controls 64 of the 113 seats in the legislature, have reacted cautiously to the proposal, saying that the matter should follow the Constitution and that the president’s dignity should be taken into consideration.