A session of the Council of Grand Justices yesterday dismissed a second request by the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) to rule on whether a law on political party assets passed in July is constitutional.
Last month, 35 KMT legislators jointly requested the grand justices issue an interpretation on the The Act Governing the Handling of Ill-gotten Properties by Political Parties and Their Affiliate Organizations (政黨及其附隨組織不當取得財產處理條例), which the KMT considers to be “unconstitutional and unlawful.”
That request was rejected by the court on Oct. 21 on the grounds that it was not supported by an adequate number of legislators.
According to the law, a request for a constitutional interpretation is considered valid only if it is endorsed by one-third of legislators — which means 38 lawmakers, as the legislature has 113 seats.
The KMT has 35 seats in the legislature, and no other party was willing to support its bid.
Following that ruling, the KMT challenged the threshold of one-third of all legislators needed to request a constitutional interpretation, saying the threshold was too strict and could not protect the right of minority legislators to challenge the majority party.
It asked the grand justices for an interpretation of the threshold requirement and to provisionally handle the party asset law, but the request was dismissed on Friday.
The party assets law, which took effect in August, empowers a committee to investigate, retroactively confiscate and return or restore to the rightful owners all assets that were improperly obtained by the KMT and affiliated organizations since Aug. 15, 1945 — when Japan officially announced its surrender to the Allies, bringing World War II to an end.
The act assumes that all KMT assets — except for the party’s membership fees, political donations, government subsidies for KMT candidates running for public offices, and interest generated from these funds — are “ill-gotten” and must be transferred to the state or returned to their rightful owners.
Late last month, the KMT’s main bank account was frozen at the request of the committee, forcing the party to delay paying its employees their salaries.
The KMT criticized the committee for the action, saying it did not have the legal right to ask the bank to freeze the account.
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