The Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) yesterday reaffirmed its support for Premier Sean Chen’s (陳冲) plan on year-end bonuses and said the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) caucus’ refusal to support Chen was a vote of no confidence in the Cabinet.
The DPP said it supported Chen’s plan to cut 90 percent of the original budget allocation for the bonuses of retired civil servants and public workers, which would bring down the cost to less than 10 percent of the original NT$20.2 billion (US$690 million) budget.
“More than 70 percent of respondents in public opinion polls opposed the distribution of the bonuses. The KMT caucus overturning Chen’s plan with a new proposal would be a vote of no confidence, a constitutional laughingstock and a crisis for the ruling party,” DPP spokesperson Lin Chun-hsien (林俊憲) told a press conference.
The KMT’s alternative proposal has not been finalized yet, but would make the tightening of qualification criteria less harsh due to pressure exerted by various constituencies on lawmakers.
Lin said such a proposal would be a slap in the face of President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九), who has lauded Chen’s plan as “a wise decision,” as well as a violation of fairness and justice, given that the bonus system lacks a legal basis.
Lin said the DPP’s support does not mean the party is shadowing the Executive Yuan’s policies.
“On the contrary, the DPP raised the issue of the bonuses before Chen came up with his reform plan,” he said.
The KMT’s inconsistent position on the issue, with the caucus opposing Chen’s plan, could be seen as a constitutional crisis, DPP Legislator Wu Ping-jui (吳秉叡) said at a separate press conference.
The DPP caucus urged the Executive Yuan to amend its proposal to make the plan a top-to-bottom reform, because at present the proposal would only cut NT$11.8 billion from the central government’s budget when NT$6.8 billion should be cut from the local governments’ budgets as well.