In response to questions about the constitutionality of President Tsai Ing-wen’s (蔡英文) high-level policy meetings, which are attended by government officials, lawmakers and party officials, Premier Lin Chuan (林全) yesterday said that former presidents had similar approaches.
Tsai on Oct. 1 announced the High-Level Policy Coordination Meeting, at which representatives of the Presidential Office, the Executive Yuan, local governments, the Democratic Progressive Party caucus and high-ranking party officials have every Monday since its launch discussed and facilitated the creation and implementation of policies.
Critics have called the meetings unconstitutional, with some saying they upset the checks and balances between the executive and legislative branches, with the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) calling Tsai the “empress” behind the Cabinet.
When asked by reporters about the issue, Lin said that there should not be such a big fuss, as former presidents Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁) and Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) had conducted similar meetings.
“As for the call of many for revisions to related regulations in the Constitution, we respect their views,” Lin added.
The premier was also questioned about the issue during a legislative question-and-answer session, at which KMT Legislator William Tseng (曾銘宗) cited former grand justice Hsu Tzong-li’s (許宗力) remarks at a confirmation hearing for Hsu’s nomination to Judicial Yuan president that such meetings require “further consideration.”
In response to Lin saying that both former presidents had similar approaches, and that controversy has always arisen due to the nation’s semi-presidential system, Tseng said that while National Security Council meetings include officials from administrative departments, they do not involve local government officials.
The premier said that public concern does not revolve around the participation of local government heads at the meetings, but rather whether the Cabinet’s ability to make decisions has been overridden by the president.
“Now we do not have such a problem,” Lin said, adding that as premier he is responsible for decisionmaking and that policies would not be implemented without his consent.
He added that the president was democratically elected, and that Tsai too has promised and proposed policies.
“The policy coordination meeting can include officials from agencies to facilitate implementation of policies, which should not be conflated with worries about the Executive Yuan’s decisionmaking being overruled,” Lin said.
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