The Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) yesterday accused President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) of acting like an “empress” and unconstitutionally expanding her powers by holding a weekly High-Level Policy Coordination Meeting, which it said is detrimental to democratic and constitutional development.
“Back in 2009, Tsai, who was the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) chairperson at the time, criticized then-president Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) for doubling as KMT chairman, accusing him of entangling party and state, and attempting to return to authoritarianism,” KMT Culture and Communications Committee deputy director Hu Wen-chi (胡文琦) told a news conference in Taipei.
Tsai also raised concerns that, given the KMT’s large majority in the legislature, Ma’s control over both the executive and legislative branches could undermine the Constitution’s checks and balances, Hu said.
Calling Tsai the “mother of an emperor,” Hu said DPP Legislator Chen Ming-wen (陳明文) has said that Tsai doubling as DPP chairperson is to aid the president in delivering on her campaign promises to promote coordination between the government and the party, and allow more room for the executive branch of government.
“Since Premier Lin Chuan’s (林全) role in the Executive Yuan no longer exists and he has no real power, he should know his place and step down,” Hu said, referring to Tsai’s decision to hold the weekly meeting.
Hu also urged Tsai to reflect on her actions, saying that her insistence on acting like Tang Dynasty empress Wu Zetian (武則天) would have an adverse effect on democratic and constitutional development.
The KMT criticism came a day after Tsai convened the first High-Level Policy Coordination Meeting on Monday, bringing together officials from the Executive Yuan and the DPP to deliberate on major government policies and social issues.
During the two-hour meeting, Tsai instructed the Executive Yuan and the DPP legislative caucus to pass a bill to introduce a five-day workweek with two mandatory days off by the end of the year, while reiterating her administration’s determination to carry out pension reform.
In response to the KMT’s criticism, Presidential Office spokesman Alex Huang (黃重諺) said the government is a team and who is captain of that team is not an issue.
“The weekly meeting is meant to serve as a coordination mechanism … to allow the Presidential Office, the Executive Yuan, the legislature and local government heads to meet regularly to determine the direction and timetable of major issues and decide the division of labor,” Huang said.
The meetings are expected to make the administration’s policymaking process more efficient and ensure the smooth promotion of major policies and reforms, Huang said.
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