The Democratic Progressive Party’s (DPP) legislative caucus has failed to play an effective watchdog role in response to Saturday’s meeting between President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) and Chinese President Xi Jinping (習近平), a third-force legislative candidate said yesterday.
“While I can understand that the DPP has had a very reserved response because it’s preparing to rule, I think the people expect more than this from a prospective ruling party,” said Green Party-Social Democratic Party Alliance candidate Miao Bo-ya (苗博雅), condemning the DPP for “failing to take constitutionally significant” actions to oppose the meeting.
“Although individual DPP members have issued statements against the talks, they have not used their capacity as national legislators to oppose the talks and create a meaningful precedent,” she said.
Even though the DPP lacks a majority in the Legislative Yuan, there were still several actions the caucus could have taken to oppose the talks, including sponsoring a petition to the Council of Grand Justices to rule on whether the arrangement of the meeting was constitutional, she said, adding that the council would be required to give a ruling if one-third of national legislators signed the petition.
“While they’ve recently repeatedly stated that the meeting was opaque and ‘black-box,’ if the ‘black-box’ arrangement was not in violation of the Constitution, then in reality Ma did not do anything illegal,” she said.
Critics maintain that Ma’s arrangement of the meeting without prior approval from the Legislative Yuan violated constitutional provisions requiring that all major national affairs be approved by the legislature.
Miao said the DPP caucus could also propose a resolution calling for the rejection of the meeting results and the establishment of a committee to investigate negotiations during the meeting, stating both resolutions would spark public discussion even if they failed to pass.
She also criticized the DPP caucus for opposing Ma’s proposal to deliver a report on the meeting to the Legislative Yuan.
“I don’t think that allowing him to come [to deliver a report] is endorsing the meeting — you can still ask questions and express your opposition,” she said, adding that the report represented an opportunity to leave behind the precedent of legislative supervision.
Miao’s comments followed criticism from New Power Party candidate Chiu Hsien-chih (邱顯智), who late on Sunday said that DPP whip Ker Chien-ming (柯建銘) and DPP presidential candidate Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) “seriously neglected their duties” for failing to take action to recall or impeach Ma for violating the Constitution.
Chiu is in competition with Ker for the Hsinchu City legislative district seat.
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