Premier Jiang Yi-huah (江宜樺) again failed to deliver his policy address in the legislature yesterday as opposition lawmakers continued to block him from taking the podium, demanding that he apologize for what they said was his role in the ongoing political turmoil.
At the heart of the matter were the interviews Jiang granted to the Chinese-language United Daily Evening News and the state-owned Central News Agency on Sept. 9, which the opposition described as a plan by President Ma Ying-jeou’s (馬英九) administration to oust Legislative Speaker Wang Jin-pyng (王金平).
The opposition, led by the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP), demanded that Jiang apologize for what he had said about the legislature and Wang in the interviews before they would let him present his policy report.
Before heading to the legislature early yesterday morning, Jiang told reporters that the reason the DPP was demanding he apologize was “unjustified” because he had never said in the interviews that “the Executive Yuan is prepared to face a legislature without Speaker Wang” as the DPP has claimed.
Jiang maintained that the DPP was trying to force him to apologize for something he did not say and he expressed the hope that the Cabinet would be allowed to promote important administrative affairs as usual.
Negotiations were held on and off during the day by Wang to break the deadlock, while Jiang and 42 other officials waited in their chairs in the legislature — a repetition of what happened on Tuesday last week, the opening day of the new legislative session.
The Executive Yuan and the DPP both have the two interviews of Jiang transcribed and compared the two versions during the negotiations, but they remained divided on their interpretations of Jiang’s remarks.
At one point at about 3:20pm, Wang announced that Jiang was invited to deliver his policy address, but Jiang did not stand up because opposition lawmakers had already surrounded his seat and blocked his way.
Opposition lawmakers shouted that Jiang should step down if he refused to apologize, while Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) lawmakers, on the other side of the floor, shouted back that Jiang was constitutionally bound to present his policy report at the beginning of the legislative session.
At 6pm, Deputy Speaker Hung Shiu-chu (洪秀柱) announced that the meeting was dismissed.
Jiang collected his stuff immediately and walked out of the legisalture while DPP lawmakers shouted: “No apology. You can only resign.”
According to Article 16 of the Act Governing the Legislative Yuan’s Power (立法院職權行使法), the premier is required to present his policy address to the legislature in the second session of the year by the end of September.
The DPP caucus has made it clear that in addition to an apology from Jiang, it wants the Supreme Prosecutors’ Office’s Special Investigation Division — which played a key role in monitoring conversations between Wang and DPP caucus whip Ker Chien-ming (柯建銘) — to be closed for good, and that a committee to monitor wiretapping practices and review illegal wiretapping of lawmakers should be established.
Additional reporting by CNA