Judges have set a Dec. 4 date for the opening of Legislative Speaker Wang Jin-pyng’s (王金平) civil suit against the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) for trying to revoke his party membership.
The three judges assigned to the case will hear statements from both parties on that date, but access to the proceedings will be restricted to approved applicants due to its high-profile nature, the Taipei District Court said yesterday.
Wang filed his case on Sept. 11, the day the party revoked his membership over his alleged involvement in lobbying prosecutors to drop an appeal against a not-guilty verdict for Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) caucus whip Ker Chien-ming (柯建銘).
Losing his KMAT membership would effectively end Wang’s 14 years as speaker, as he would lose his seat as a party-appointed legislator-at-large.
Wang was awarded an injunction on Sept. 13 on one of several motions he has filed, which allows him to keep his position in the party until the court decides on the legitimacy of the KMT’s move.
A KMT appeal against that injunction was overruled by the Taiwan High Court on Sept. 30, and the party later announced that it would not make further appeals against the injunction, focusing instead on the court case.
The political row at the center of the case erupted on Sept. 6, when the Special Investigation Division (SID) of the Supreme Prosecutors’ Office accused then-minister of justice Tseng Yung-fu (曾勇夫) and Taiwan High Prosecutors’ Office Head Prosecutor Chen Shou-huang (陳守煌) of improper lobbying and reported them to the Control Yuan and the Prosecutor Evaluation Committee respectively.
The SID said that after receiving telephone calls from Wang, Tseng and Chen asked prosecutors not to appeal Ker’s acquittal. The fallout led to Tseng’s resignation and a strongly worded KMT condemnation of Wang, along with later punitive actions.
The political environment was shaken up further when the DPP accused President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九), who is also KMT chairman, and the SID of violating the Constitution and encroaching on the legislature’s power in their investigation, which included the wiretapping of the legislature’s main switchboard number.
While neither Wang nor the KMT have backed down, Wang said on Monday that he has accepted the KMT’s invitation to its national congress, scheduled for Nov. 10 in Greater Taichung.