Legislative Speaker Wang Jin-pyng (王金平) took a leave of absence yesterday from the Presidential Office’s monthly meeting and a ceremony to celebrate the birth of Confucius (孔子), thereby missing an opportunity to meet President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九).
Ma and Wang have not met since the Special Investigation Division (SID) on Sept. 6 accused Wang of improper lobbying on behalf of Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) caucus whip Ker Chien-ming (柯建銘), which led the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) to revoke Wang’s membership, a move that could cost him his seat as a legislator-at-large and the speakership.
Ma has said that he would respect Wang by addressing him as “Speaker Wang” at public events while the legal battle between the KMT, of which Ma is chairman, and Wang over his membership and the speaker post continue.
Presidential Office spokesperson Li Chia-fei (李佳霏) said Wang has asked for a leave of absence because he would be presiding over a legislative session.
As for the lawsuit between Wang and the KMT over his membership, Li said Ma has instructed the party to continue with the lawsuit, and said that the implementation of government policies will be unaffected.
“We will not call a halt to the lawsuit, and before the legal procedures are over, we will maintain respect for Legislator Wang,” she said.
Ma, who has dismissed allegations that he had plotted to oust Wang, remained firm on his position that the lawsuit must continue, Li said.
The Taiwan High Court did not hand down a ruling on Thursday on Wang’s request for an injunction against the KMT’s revocation of his party membership
Presiding Judge Wei Li-chuan (魏麗娟) suggested that the two sides should settle the case outside the court, saying that “taking a step back is actually moving forward.”
Many KMT lawmakers have cited Wei’s comments in a meeting with Ma on Thursday night, asking him to reconcile with Wang to end the political turmoil.
Li said the president stressed that there was no conspiracy or political manipulations behind the legal case, and taking a legal approach to such an issue was a difficult, but necessary, decision.
“President Ma said as the leader of the country and the KMT chairman, he cannot avoid the issue. He must seek justice on behalf of the public and all KMT members,” she said.
Ma and Wang are both scheduled to attend the Double Ten National Day ceremony on Oct. 10, and all eyes will be on their interactions, if any.