Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) lawmakers continued to boycott the qualification review of four National Communications Commission (NCC) nominees, insisting yesterday that the review could only resume if the Executive Yuan withdraws the nomination of Integral Investment Holdings Group managing director Chen Yuan-ling (陳元玲).
Apart from Chen, the Executive Yuan has also nominated National Dong Hwa University professor Howard Shyr (石世豪), National Chiao Tung University professor Yu Hsiao-cheng (虞孝成) and National Tsing Hua University professor Peng Shin-yi (彭心儀). Shyr and Yu were nominated to serve as new commission chairperson and vice chairperson respectively.
The four nominees are scheduled to assume their posts in August.
By 7:30am, DPP lawmakers had occupied the stand where the committee chairman for yesterday’s Transportation Committee meeting was seated and prevented the review session from proceeding. They accused Chen of fabricating her media experience and said her husband’s running of a private equity fund made her unfit to be an NCC member.
Saying it was the right of the Executive Yuan to nominate the commission members, DPP Legislator Yeh Yi-jin (葉宜津) said the Presidential Office’s statement over the weekend that the nominees must pass the review at the Legislative Yuan showed the president has interfered with the nominations for the NCC, which was supposed to be an independent government agency.
DPP legislators Kuan Bi-ling (管碧玲) and Chen Ting-fei (陳亭妃) pointed to a statement issued by Chen Yuan-ling last week — in which she said she would be glad if she was asked to stay, but said she would be fine as well if she was asked to leave — as showing Chen Yuan-ling wanted to leave, but was forced to stay because of pressure from Presidential Office and the Executive Yuan.
DPP Legislator Hsu Chih-chieh (許智傑) said that the Executive Yuan could end the gridlock: “If you [Chen Yuan-ling] stand up and leave now, then the review process may resume.”
In the government’s defense, Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) caucus whip Lin Hung-chih (林鴻池) cited Interpretation No. 632 from the Council of Grand Justices, whereby the justices were asked if lawmakers could keep boycotting the nominations of Control Yuan members. He said the interpretation clearly stated that legislators could disapprove of the nominations, but they cannot boycott the review of the nominees.
DPP Legislator Liu Chao-hao (劉櫂豪) said that the constitutional interpretation from 2007 did not apply in this case.
“The interpretation came when KMT was the majority party in the legislature, which was trying to hinder the review of Control Yuan members nominated by then-president Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁),” Liu said. “Interpretation No. 632 was meant to prevent the majority party from using procedural tactics to boycott the review.”
The committee meeting went for a recess for about two-and-a-half hours as lawmakers tried in vain to negotiate a deal. A new session extended to yesterday afternoon in an attempt to terminate the gridlock also saw both parties fail again to reach a deal. Executive Yuan spokesperson Hu Yu-wei (胡幼偉) declined the DPP caucus’ request that the Executive Yuan withdraw its nomination at a separate location.
The boycott of the confirmation process by legislators could cause the commission to stop functioning, because its four sitting members are due to complete their tenure at the end of next month and their positions will be left unfilled if the four nominees are not confirmed by then, Hu said.