President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) should make a national report and take questions from lawmakers in the legislature because — contrary to what the Presidential Office says — it is constitutional, an opposition lawmaker said yesterday.
Past presidents reported to the now-defunct National Assembly, Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Legislator Chen Ou-po (陳歐珀) said, adding that former president Lee Teng-hui (李登輝) also made a report to the assembly and took questions.
The assembly, which used to be a permanent body elected every six years, was changed in 2000 to an ad hoc organization and abolished in 2005.
Chen told a press conference that while the interpellation mechanism might not be common in countries with a semi-presidential system of government, Taiwan’s Acts Governing Exercise of Rights of the Legislative Yuan (立法院職權行使法) stipulate that the president can report to the legislature and take questions.
The opposition parties have asked Ma to present a report and take questions, but the Presidential Office said the president would only agree to deliver a report and that taking questions would be unconstitutional.
Political analyst Chen Mao--hsiung (陳茂雄) told a press conference that the interpellation mechanism traditionally only exists in a parliamentary form of government.
For countries with a presidential system of government, such as the US, or semi-presidential, like France, the mechanism is not a must since the administrative and legislative branches check and balance each other, he said.
However, after several constitutional amendments since the early 1990s Taiwan’s political system is now more presidential, he said.
After the amendments, the president’s appointment or dismissal of the premier no longer requires the approval of the Legislative Yuan, which makes the premier more like a “chief of staff” because he or she is unable to formulate policies without consultation or orders from the president.
It is not right that the president can not be held suitably accountable for all the power he now has or for the premier to take full responsibility for the formulation of policies in which he is not necessarily involved, Chen said.