MA-WANG SHOWDOWN: DPP lawmakers want to clarify law to avoid crisis

By Chris Wang  /  Staff reporter

Sat, Sep 14, 2013 - Page 3

Given the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) infighting involving Legislative Speaker Wang Jin-pyng (王金平), Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) legislators yesterday called for legislative reforms and constitutional interpretations to insure that future speakers would be able to maintain neutrality and autonomy.

DPP Legislator Lee Ying-yuan (李應元) said he had launched an inter-party petition among lawmakers to demand the Council of Grand Justices issue an interpretation to clarify the status of Wang’s speakership, which the KMT said had been vacated due to his membership in the party being revoked.

Citing Article 66 of the Constitution, which states that the speaker and deputy speaker must be elected by and chosen from members of the Legislative Yuan, Lee said the KMT’s internal rules should not go beyond the Constitution and strip Wang of his speakership.

At least one-third of the 113 lawmakers have to sign the petition to force the grand justices to intervene.

Meanwhile, DPP Legislator Chen Chi-mai (陳其邁) proposed amending the Organic Law of the Legislative Yuan (立法院組織法) and the Civil Servants Election and Recall Act (公職人員選舉罷免法).

Chen’s initiative proposes that the speaker should be obligated to stay away from political party activities and operations in order to maintain neutrality.

Chen also proposed that the dismissal of the speaker should require the approval of a plenary session of the legislature and that a legislator-at-large who is elected speaker cannot be stripped of his position if he or she is expelled by their political party.

“It is time to save the country from a further constitutional crisis after President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) jeopardized legislative authority in the name of party discipline. The amendment would ensure legislative speakers’ political neutrality, provide security and ensure independence,” Chen said.