Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) lawmakers yesterday boycotted an administrative report by Premier William Lai (賴清德) and paralyzed legislative proceedings on the first day of the new legislative session.
At about 8am — one hour before a Legislative Yuan plenary — KMT lawmakers occupied the rostrum and blocked the entrance to the legislative chamber, where Lai was to deliver his report.
KMT caucus members originally planned to bar Lai from entering the legislature compound, but the premier arrived 15 minutes before they did, KMT caucus secretary-general William Tseng (曾銘宗) said.
Photo: Liao Chen-huei, Taipei Times
The legislators accused Lai of apathy toward an incident earlier this month, when a Japanese representative of the Alliance for Truth About Comfort Women was seen in a video allegedly kicking a statue of a “comfort woman” next to the KMT’s Tainan chapter.
The statue commemorates Taiwanese victims of sexual exploitation by the Imperial Japanese army during World War II.
The lawmakers also demanded that Lai apologize for the behavior of former Transitional Justice Commission deputy chairman Chang Tien-chin (張天欽), who last month allegedly said that he wanted to use a lustration law being drafted by the commission against New Taipei City mayoral candidate and former deputy mayor Hou You-yi (侯友宜) of the KMT to turn public opinion against Hou.
Chang resigned on Wednesday last week, after the Chinese-language Mirror Media magazine published a partial transcript of a recording of an informal commission meeting held by Chang on Aug. 24.
According to the transcript, Chang said it would be a pity not to manipulate public opinion against Hou, whom Chang called the “most despicable case in transitional justice.”
The lawmakers would not let Lai enter the chamber.
They performed a voodoo-style skit, scattering effigies representing “Chang Tien-chins” in the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) administration and sweeping them away with a broom
DPP and KMT caucus officials in a separate room discussed how to break the stalemate, but their efforts proved futile.
DPP caucus whip Ker Chien-ming (柯建銘) said it was regrettable that the KMT caucus blocked the rostrum, as Lai had said he was willing to apologize for the justice commission debacle.
The negotiations broke down because the KMT’s caucus leadership was divided over how to handle the legislative session, Ker said.
The KMT is unlikely to boycott Lai’s report on the government’s response to floods on Tuesday next week, but if KMT lawmakers fail to agree on how to approach future meetings, the stalemate could continue, he said.
The KMT caucus resorts to the same obstruction tactics at the start of every legislative session, obscuring their causes, DPP caucus director-general Lee Chun-yi (李俊俋) said.
Tseng denied that the KMT caucus was divided over how to go into future meetings.
The lawmakers’ demands are clear, he said: Lai must apologize; the government must investigate whether there are more “Chang Tien-chins”; and the commission must cease operations.
Lai left the legislature at noon, declining to respond to media queries.
Legislative Speaker Su Jia-chyuan (蘇嘉全) ended the meeting at 2pm, saying further discussions on the agenda were needed.
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