Wed, Jul 04, 2018 - Page 3 News List

KMT, PFP caucuses file second appeal on program budget

By Sean Lin  /  Staff reporter

The Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) and the People First Party (PFP) caucuses yesterday said they have filed a second application for a constitutional interpretation on the legitimacy of the budget that was granted to the Executive Yuan’s Forward-looking Infrastructure Development Program last year, after their first application was rejected by the Council of Grand Justices last week.

The council turned down the application because Non-Partisan Solidarity Union Legislator May Chin (高金素梅), despite having signed a petition calling for a constitutional interpretation, did not take part in a vote on the infrastructure program’s budget.

The caucuses, with which Chin often works, have been disputing the legitimacy of the NT$420 billion (US$13.7 billion at the current exchange rate) budget granted in July last year, after Legislative Speaker Su Jia-chyuan (蘇嘉全) put to a vote an extraordinary motion by the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) caucus, which has the legislative majority, to discard more than 10,000 motions filed by the two caucuses seeking to scrap certain projects in the program.

The KMT and PFP caucuses filed their first application in September last year on grounds that Su had breached legislative rules.

Su has said that his handling of the DPP motion had precedent in the nation’s lawmaking.

If lawmakers want to request a constitutional interpretation, the leading petitioner must gather the signatures of one-third of lawmakers, and the council in the past was only concerned with the number of signatures when deciding whether to deliver an interpretation, KMT caucus whip Lin Te-fu (林德福) said.

“Never had the council based its decision on whether to formulate a constitutional interpretation on the results of a legislative vote,” he said.

‘UNFAIR’

Chin’s absence from the vote should be regarded as abstaining, which is an action often taken by lawmakers to show tacit disapproval of a motion, so the council citing Chin’s absence from the vote as the reason for rejecting the application in unconvincing, unfair and unprecedented, he said.

“It is our hope that the grand justices will uphold constitutional neutrality and renew their review of the application,” he said.

DPP caucus deputy secretary-general Rosalia Wu (吳思瑤) said that while her caucus respects the decision by the opposition caucuses and the council’s jurisdiction over the new application, it believes that the program would benefit the nation’s development.

“Taiwan is not the only nation that is moving an infrastructure program forward. The KMT should not voice opposition for the sake of opposing,” she said.

Additional reporting by CNA

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