DPP cites 1996 precedent to delay Jiang’s report

By Su Fang-ho and Jake Chung  /  Staff reporter, with staff writer

Sat, Sep 28, 2013 - Page 3

The Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) is citing a 1996 precedent in order to delay the report of Premier Jiang Yi-huah (江宜樺).

The Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) Policy Committee head Lin Hung-chih (林鴻池) said the party caucus would discuss their response next week.

The KMT has argued that Jiang has to give a full report to the Legislative Yuan this month, citing article 16 of the Act Governing the Legislative Yuan’s Power (立法院職權行使法), which state that the premier should make his report on governmental policies from the first half of the year on the first day of September.

DPP caucus whip Ker Chien-ming (柯建銘) said it would not be a constitutional — or even legal — violation if the report was made after this month.

Ker said that although the Executive Yuan had to report to the Legislative Yuan, the legislature has the power to decide whether it wanted to hear the report.

Ker said that the DPP was adamant that the issue be handled the way the Legislative Yuan did it in 1996.

After the first direct general elections in Taiwan in 1996, the question was raised as to whether the vice president can also hold office as premier — then-vice president elect Lien Chan (連戰) had been the premier at the time — causing a constitutional debate.

Many vice presidents had doubled as the premier during the Martial Law era, such as Chen Cheng (陳誠) and Yen Chia-kan (嚴家淦), but the debate prompted the Council of Grand Justices to make Constitutional Interpretation No. 419 on Dec. 31, 1996, stating that the office of vice president and the office of premier held the position of being needed to step into the role of national leader in case of a crisis, and therefore these roles were not encouraged should not be held by the same person.

The consitutional issue was resolved after when Lee nominated Vincent Siew (蕭萬長) as premier in April 1997. The interval was the longest time the premier had been unable to present the Executive Yuan’s report to the legislature.

Meanwhile, in response to the DPP’s request to alter the agenda and include more items for discussion, Lin had also made the same request, but had been called out of order by Legislative Speaker Wang Jin-pyng (王金平), who had been seen to shake his finger at Lin and seemed to be angry.

Wang said afterwards that he had not been angry and had only wished to remind Lin that it was late and if Lin had his way, the afternoon session would not be able to address the general interpellation as planned.

“I only wished to remind him [Lin] that we can’t do things like that,” Wang said.

Lin also said that there were no quarrels between himself and Wang, adding that they had only been exchanging ideas on the procedure of the session.

Wang asked us not to raise counter proposals to the DPP’s additional agendas, and we agreed to give the proceedings a good atmosphere, Lin said.

Additional reporting by Wang Yu-chung