Sat, Feb 27, 2016 - Page 3 News List

NPP vexed by DPP caucus whip

NOT IN LINE:There is disparity between DPP caucus whip Ker Chien-min’s views and those of his fellow party members, NPP caucus whip Hsu Yung-ming said

By Abraham Gerber  /  Staff reporter

New Power Party caucus whip Hsu Yung-ming attends a meeting in Taipei yesterday.

Photo: Wang Yi-sung, Taipei Times

The Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) should replace caucus whip Ker Chien-ming (柯建銘) in cross-caucus negotiations, New Power Party (NPP) caucus whip Hsu Yung-ming (徐永明) said yesterday, adding that the two no longer have mutual trust.

“I hope that the DPP will change who represents them in negotiations,” Hsu said, following earlier protests over the DPP caucus’ refusal to trade committee seats. “If that is not possible, I will work hard to contact individual legislators and sub-groups within the DPP caucus, rather than treating caucus representatives as the only point of contact.”

The NPP’s failure to gain its “wish list” seats on the legislature’s Internal Administration Committee and Transportation Committee threatens to hamper its ability to push key legislative priorities, including proposed supervisory legislation that was a key demand of the 2014 Sunflower movement.

Hsu said that Ker was not qualified to represent his party, because his views were out of line with rank-and-file legislators.

“There was an obvious disparity between Ker’s views and those within the party, because some legislators said that they were willing to switch, but Ker did not give any hint of this when he communicated with us,” he said, reiterating the NPP’s claims that several individual DPP legislators had expressed a willingness to exchange committee seats with NPP legislators.

Under Legislative Yuan rules, cross-party trades can take place only under the advocacy of cross-caucus negotiations.

Hsu said that on matters such as legislation to supervise cross-strait negotiations and agreements, he would no longer assume that Ker represented the position of the DPP caucus and would treat his statements as just a single perspective.

Ker was an exception to close cooperation between the NPP and the DPP prior to last month’s election, with Ker being the only DPP legislator against whom the NPP nominated a rival candidate.

“We just asked them and there is no such thing,” Ker said following a caucus meeting, adding that no DPP legislators have expressed a willingness to switch committee seats with NPP members.

He called Hsu’s criticism a “small matter” and said he would still communicate with the party.

DPP Legislator Lo Chih-cheng (羅致政) said that even if legislators were willing to switch seats, they were obligated to first give priority to whichever DPP legislator wanted to sit on their committee.

“There has probably been some kind of misunderstanding that should clear up as soon as an explanation is made,” Legislative Speaker Su Jia-chyuan (蘇嘉全) said ahead of an official trade of committee seats between the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) and People First Party (PFP).

The KMT traded a seat on the Education and Culture Committee for the PFP’s Finance Committee seat.

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