Wed, Sep 13, 2017 - Page 3 News List

William Lai to continue policy coordination meetings

By Chen Wei-han  /  Staff reporter

Premier William Lai (賴清德) is to continue policy coordination framework meetings between the Cabinet, the Presidential Office and the legislature, and is to attend meetings with the president and Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) decisionmaking bodies today and tomorrow.

The meetings were established by former premier Lin Chuan (林全), including weekly meetings with President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文), and between the Cabinet and the DPP caucus.

Lai is to meet with Tsai every Wednesday to discuss policies and government administration, while the coordination meeting between the Executive Yuan and the DPP caucus, as well as a luncheon meeting with DPP lawmakers, would also be continued, the Executive Yuan said.

Lai is to chair the luncheon meeting, while the coordination meeting would be presided over by Executive Yuan Secretary-General Cho Jung-tai (卓榮泰), it said.

The meetings have been convened on a regular basis since soon after the Tsai administration was sworn in last year to smooth coordination between government branches.

Lai is also to attend the DPP’s Central Standing Committee meeting today for the first time as premier, but he would not participate in the committee meetings in the future, as per Lin’s practice, sources said.

DPP and Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) lawmakers criticized the negotiation mechanism, saying it had either created misunderstandings or caused presidential interference in Cabinet and legislative operations.

DPP Legislator Wu Ping-jui (吳秉叡) said that although the new Cabinet should continue with the coordination meetings to maintain communication between government branches, Cabinet officials had disclosed tentative policy ideas formed at the meetings to the media, creating unnecessary criticism.

“Some ministers and officials spoke to the media about policies that were being developed to test public opinion, causing controversy,” Wu said.

Some of the information leaked to the media were raw policy ideas that were either underdeveloped or terminated, he said.

“As the negotiation mechanism is in place, we should form policies within the parameters of the mechanism and develop them before they are announced,” Wu said.

That way, the Cabinet could gain more support from the DPP caucus and lawmakers of other parties, he said.

KMT caucus secretary-general Lin Wei-chou (林為洲) said while the Cabinet-legislature meetings are a healthy way to maintain communications, the routine meetings between the president and the premier could compromise the separation of powers.

“The meetings could infringe on the authority of the premier and cause confusion among the chain of command,” Lin Wei-chou said. “Whatever does not involve the presidential duties of national defense and foreign relations should be settled at Cabinet meetings.”

It is not that the president should not convene such meetings, but they ought to be carried out on a less frequent basis to reconcile differences between government branches over major, controversial policies, he said.

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