DPP criticized for blocking premier

Staff writer, with CNA

Fri, Sep 20, 2013 - Page 3

It is unconstitutional for legislators to block Premier Jiang Yi-huah (江宜樺) from delivering his policy report in the legislature, an academic said on Wednesday.

Peng Ching-peng (彭錦鵬), an associate professor at National Taiwan University, said that under the Constitution, the Executive Yuan has the responsibility to report on its policy to the Legislative Yuan on the opening day of a new legislative session.

Jiang was unable to deliver his report on Tuesday due to a boycott by opposition legislators, which Peng said showed “disrespect for the Constitution.”

“The legislative speaker has a responsibility to address the problem,” Peng said.

The Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) on Tuesday also issued a list of demands, saying they were the conditions under which the party’s lawmakers would allow Jiang to deliver his report. The list included a call for Jiang to apologize for what the DPP described as a remark that was contemptuous of the legislature.

The key to the stalemate lies in the judicial system, which should promptly clarify the legal status of Speaker Wang Jin-pyng (王金平), Peng said.

If the court rules that Wang, an at-large legislator, has lost his Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) membership, the legislature will have to elect a new leader, Peng said. If not, the executive and legislative branches should work out their problems, he said.

President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) will not change his stance of asking Wang to step down as speaker because of Wang’s alleged improper lobbying.

Yang Tai-shuenn (楊泰順), a professor at Chinese Culture University, said a speaker’s job is to make sure the legislature runs smoothly and not let opposition parties boycott the proceedings at random.

In a democracy, political disputes should be dealt with based on the public’s will, not by judges in court, Yang said. He said that a judicial ruling would not solve the current dispute, which might require a constitutional interpretation.

Peng Ming-hui (彭明輝), a retired professor from National Tsing Hua University, posted an article on his blog on Wednesday, saying that it is outrageous for the DPP to be hard on Ma, while ignoring its caucus whip Ker Chien-ming (柯建銘).

Wang has won a court injunction to keep his KMT membership and retain his at-large legislative seat and the speakership for now, Peng Ming-hui said, although the KMT has appealed the Taipei District Court’s decision. The lawsuit will be lengthy, and by the time a final verdict is handed down, it would likely be well past 2016, when Wang’s term as speaker is due to end, he said.

By that time, it would be meaningless to revoke Wang’s KMT membership, he added.

“On the surface, Wang seems to have come out unscathed, as has Ker,” Peng Ming-hui said.

“The DPP is busy relentlessly persecuting Ma, but has deliberately forgotten that Ker has a leading role and is the source of the whole problem,” he said.

The political crisis was triggered by the Supreme Prosecutors’ Office Special Investigation Division naming Wang as one of the people involved in improper lobbying in a breach of trust case involving Ker.