Court to hear legislative speaker's KMT membership case on Dec. 4
CNATAIPEI--Judges have set a Dec. 4 date for the opening of Legislative Speaker Wang Jin-pyng's suit to determine whether the ruling Kuomintang's (KMT's) move to revoke his party membership was legitimate.
October 24, 2013, 12:07 am TWN
The three judges assigned to the civil case will hear statements from both parties on that date, but access to watch the proceedings will be restricted to approved applicants due to its high-profile nature, the Taipei District Court said yesterday.
Wang filed the case Sept. 11, the same day the party decided to strip his membership for alleged involvement in pressuring prosecutors to drop an appeal against another lawmaker, the Democratic Progressive Party's (DPP) Ker Chien-ming.
Losing his membership would effectively end Wang's 14 years as the head of the Legislature, as he would no longer be able to hold onto his seat as a party appointed legislator-at-large.
Wang was awarded an injunction Sept. 13, one of several motions he has filed, that allows him temporarily to keep his position in the party — and in the Legislature — until the court decides for good whether his membership stands.
A KMT appeal against that injunction was overruled by the Taiwan High Court 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 first erupted Sept. 6, when the Special Investigation Division (SID) accused then Justice Minister Tseng Yung-fu and Taiwan High Prosecutors Office head Chen Shou-huang of influence peddling and reported them to the Control Yuan and Prosecutor Evaluation Committee, respectively.
The SID said that after receiving phone calls from Wang, Tseng and Chen instructed prosecutors not to appeal against Ker's acquittal in a separate criminal case. The fallout led to Tseng's resignation and a strong-worded KMT condemnation of Wang, along with later punitive actions.
The political environment got shaken up further when the DPP accused President Ma, who chairs the KMT, and the SID of violating the Constitution and encroaching on the Legislature's power in their investigation, which included the tapping of Legislature phones.
While neither Wang nor the KMT have backed down from their positions in the legal battle, the speaker said Monday that he has accepted the ruling party's invitation to the KMT National Congress, set for Nov. 10 in Taichung.