Wed, Apr 16, 2014 - Page 3 News List

Legislature ready to question Jiang amid eviction controversy

By Alison Hsiao  /  Staff reporter

The legislature’s Procedure Committee yesterday scheduled an interpellation session with Premier Jiang Yi-huah (江宜樺) that is to be held over two upcoming plenary sessions.

During the meeting — the committee’s first since the end of the student-led occupation of the legislative chamber to protest the government’s handling of the cross-strait service trade pact — Taiwan Solidarity Union (TSU) Legislator Lai Cheng-chang (賴振昌) proposed demanding that Jiang apologize for the crackdown on protesters occupying the Executive Yuan before allowing him to stand on the podium to be questioned.

“Even after showing documents identifying them as members of the press, many reporters were treated violently as they were evicted from the Executive Yuan compound in Taipei on March 24,” Lai said.

“In addition, TSU Legislator Chou Ni-an (周倪安), who was at the compound to show her support for the students, was injured during the police crackdown,” Lai added.

A group of protesters that splintered off from those occupying the legislature, gathered outside the Executive Yuan complex on March 23 after the sit-in at the Legislative Yuan received little positive response from the government.

The activists stormed the Executive Yuan before Jiang ordered police to disperse them, which they did with the aid of water cannons and batons in the early hours of March 24.

“The executive power issuing an order that injured a representative of the public is a serious matter,” Lai said as he called on legislators to boycott the premier’s policy address and interpellation until he has issued an apology for the eviction.

However, Lai’s proposal was rejected by 10 to six of the lawmakers on the committee, the majority of whom are members of the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT).

After the meeting, KMT caucus whip Lin Hung-chih (林鴻池) said that a premier delivering a briefing and being interpellated by the legislature is “an obligation conferred upon that person by the Constitution,” adding that it is legislators’ responsibility to supervise the executive branch.

In response to media queries as to how the KMT would respond if the opposition parties decide to boycott Jiang’s interpellation, Lin said he would leave it to the public to judge.

He added that the Democratic Progressive Party has occupied the rostrum during the floor meeting — thereby impeding the interpellation from taking place — 39 times during the current plenary session alone.

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