The Chinese Nationalist Party’s (KMT) Central Standing Committee yesterday passed a motion to lift a self-imposed term limit on legislator-at-large seats for legislative speakers, opening the door for Legislative Speaker Wang Jin-pyng’s (王金平) potential re-election for a fourth term.
The proposal, jointly submitted by five committee members, was passed with the signatures of 29 of the 39 members, without being put to a vote at a routine meeting of the committee in Taipei.
The motion recommends an amendment be made to Article 2 of the KMT’s regulations on nominations for legislators-at-large and overseas legislators, which stipulates that KMT legislators-at-large are generally allowed to serve one term, but those with special contributions to the party are eligible for re-election.
Photo: Lo Pei-der, Taipei Times
The last paragraph of the article — dubbed the “legislative speaker clause” — states that KMT members who meet the above criteria and also serve as legislative speakers are entitled to a third term as a legislator-at-large.
The “legislative speaker clause” was added to the regulations in October 2011, before the end of Wang’s second term as legislator-at-large, for the apparent sole purpose of allowing him to retain his role for a third consecutive term.
Wang first assumed the speakership in 1999.
Under the new amendment, KMT legislative speakers who fulfil requirements would be exempted from the three-term limit.
“The legislative speakership is held by a legislators-at-large whose power and influence are accorded by their party. As such, their neutrality and authority might be compromised and questioned if their party can strip them of their position at will … or block their re-election bid by imposing a term limit,” the motion stated.
“In an effort to let the party’s legislative speaker fulfil duties without distractions, we propose that the committee make an amendment to the nomination regulations for legislators-at-large,” it added.
KMT spokesperson Lin Yi-hua (林奕華) said the committee did not discuss any specific KMT member or the party’s potential legislator-at-large candidates for the Jan. 16 elections at the meeting.
Prior to the meeting, KMT presidential candidate Eric Chu (朱立倫) said ensuring neutrality in the speakership was one of the three legislative reforms he plans to push for, if he wins the presidential race.
“The other two planned reforms include improving the efficiency of the legislature and improving transparency in legislative negotiations,” Chu said.
None of the three reforms would be affected because of a single individual, Chu said.
“My objective is to establish a long-term system. Any KMT members who disapprove of, or refuse to accept, these pending changes will not be nominated by the party as its candidates,” he added.
Wang said on the sidelines of an event in Taipei that the passage of the motion indicated support from leaders of both the KMT and the Democratic Progressive Party for a neutral legislative speaker and a reformed legislature.
“The public also looks forward to seeing these plans become a reality,” Wang said.
CAUTION: Wearing a mask in crowded places and for people with chronic illnesses or allergies can help prevent COVID-19 and other infectious diseases, the CECC said The mask mandate for outdoor settings is to lifted on Thursday, and the weekly cap on international inbound travelers is to be removed on Dec. 10, the Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) said at its regular news conference yesterday. The center also announced that starting from Friday, children aged five to 11 can receive a COVID-19 vaccine booster, and that rules for visiting hospital patients are to be partially eased from Dec. 10. While wearing a mask will no longer be mandatory outdoors, Deputy Minister of Health and Welfare Victor Wang (王必勝) reminded the public that it would still be required
DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE: China might impose a blockade, conduct limited force operations, use an air and missile campaign, or resort to an invasion, the report said The US Department of Defense has identified four possible military courses of action that China could take against Taiwan, but did not offer any guess on when Beijing might be ready to act. In an annual report to the US Congress released on Tuesday titled Military and Security Developments Involving the People’s Republic of China 2022, the department gave a broad overview of China’s military capabilities, strategy, ambitions and intentions. The report devoted significant space to developments related to Taiwan, against which it said China had intensified diplomatic, economic, political and military pressure last year. For example, the Chinese People’s Liberation Army (PLA)
ANALYSIS: The local elections showed that the KMT is a competitive player, but needs to work at changing its image regarding China, experts said The nine-in-one local election results would bolster the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT), but are unlikely to have a major effect on the 2024 presidential election, when cross-strait issues are back in focus, political commentators said. In Saturday’s elections, the KMT won 13 of the 21 cities and counties up for grabs, including four of the country’s six biggest metropolitan areas, where nearly 70 percent of the population lives. The Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) lost three of the seven cities and counties it held, although it gained Penghu County. Its poor results prompted President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) to announce her resignation as party
PRESS FREEDOM: Britain called reports that a BBC journalist was beaten and detained ‘unacceptable’; China said the reporter did not present his credentials Chinese authorities yesterday eased some COVID-19 rules, but affirmed their severe “zero COVID” strategy after protesters demanded Chinese President Xi Jinping (習近平) resign in the biggest show of opposition to the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) in decades. The government made no comment on the protests or the criticism of Xi, but the decision to ease at least some of the restrictions appeared to be aimed at quelling anger. It was not clear how many people were detained since protests began on Friday and spread to cities, including Shanghai and Beijing. The city government of Beijing yesterday announced that it would no longer