Opposition set on blocking premier's speech
CNATAIPEI, Taiwan -- All eyes are expected to be on the Legislative Yuan on Tuesday when its members meet for the first time since the ruling Kuomintang (KMT) tried but failed to remove Speaker Wang Jin-pyng last week.
September 17, 2013, 12:08 am TWN
According to convention, Premier Jiang Yi-huah is scheduled to address the opening session, but his support of the failed gambit has raised questions whether he will be given access to the podium to deliver his policy speech.
Opposition Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) lawmakers decided at a meeting of their caucus Monday that they would block the premier from giving his speech and demand that he apologize and step down from his post.
DPP lawmakers have a responsibility to prevent Jiang's speech in order to highlight “both the absurdity of the president and the premier's actions in undermining the Constitution and violating the law and the determination of our caucus to defend the constitutional system,” said Gao Jyh-peng, a DPP caucus whip.
Even in the best of times, reports by the premier and members of the Cabinet can be held up, sometimes for hours at a time, as opposition lawmakers seek to make a point about a certain issue by listing demands that need to be fulfilled before they allow officials to speak.
Jiang also irked some Wang supporters in the Legislature by suggesting even before the KMT's disciplinary committee decided on Sept. 11 to strip Wang of his party membership that he expected Wang to step down as speaker.
In an interview, Jiang said Wang might or might not continue to serve in that post, but if he stays on, “there are bound to be controversies when he presides over the legislature or budget reviews given that his fairness and political credibility have been seriously called into question.”
DPP caucus whip Wu Ping-jui contended that some of Jiang's remarks had crossed constitutional boundaries and said it was a priority for the DPP to “restore constitutional order,” without elaborating.
In the eyes of the KMT, Wang is “unfit” to carry on even though he won a court injunction on Sept. 13 to retain his party membership and his job for now. On Monday, the KMT filed an appeal against that ruling.
For his part, Wang said Monday that he hoped all caucuses would work toward creating harmonious conditions for debate and allowing Jiang to deliver his speech.
Answering reporters' questions earlier in the day, Executive Yuan spokeswoman Cheng Li-wun said Jiang will go to the Legislature to deliver his speech according to the Constitution.
If the proceedings go smoothly and Jiang is allowed to take the podium, he “will bow to the chair, which is both part of the body's customs and a courtesy,” Cheng said.
Although the KMT controls 65 of a total of 113 seats, opposition members are often able to thwart major pieces of legislation proposed by the ruling party, by locking KMT members out of the chamber, if necessary.
The accusations against Wang and Ker were based on wiretaps on Ker's cell phone, which the DPP has argued were illegal despite the existence of a court order allowing them.
In transcripts of the recorded conversations, Wang told Ker on June 28 that he had called Tseng — referred to as “Uncle Yung” — and that the minister responded by saying he “will take care of it.”