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Control Yuan nominees become point of contention in Legislature

TAIPEI--Lawmakers from ruling and opposition parties have once again found themselves embroiled in a heated battle, this time not over abstract policy directions but rather a list of nominees to the Control Yuan, the highest government supervisory body.

President Ma Ying-jeou's 29 nominees, who are supposed to replace outgoing Control Yuan members when their six-year terms end on July 31, were not confirmed at a Legislature vote Friday as expected.

Lawmakers of the opposition Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) blocked the review of the nominees, each of whom needs support from more than half of the seats in the Kuomintang (KMT)-dominated Legislature.

There are currently only 112 lawmakers in the 113-seat Legislative Yuan, including 65 from the KMT and 40 from the DPP.

Blasting DPP Chairwoman Tsai Ing-wen for letting lawmakers of her party block voting by occupying the booths in the secret vote, KMT spokesman Charles Chen contended Saturday that Tsai should be held responsible for what he labeled a “constitutional crisis.”

Chen claimed the vote blocking violated of the Constitution, citing a Constitutional interpretation by grand justices in 2007 that any “negative moves” by the Legislative Yuan to avoid fulfilling its confirmation duties “will not be allowed by the Constitution.”

On Sunday, Chen upped the rhetoric against Tsai by saying she “lacked common knowledge” of the Constitution.

The DPP head has described the list of the Control Yuan nominees, which includes incumbent Central Election Commission Chairwoman Chang Po-ya, as “the worst in history.” She also called the nominations a move to “deprive the next president (of the country) of the right to nomination, causing chaos to the constitutional system.”

Her argument was based on the fact that terms of the Control Yuan members will not expire until 2020, meaning whoever is elected president when Ma's term ends in 2016 will not have the ability to nominate new members.

Chen responded by calling Tsai's argument “a joke,” saying that under the Republic of China Constitution, the Control Yuan is defined as an independent government branch of 29 members, including a president and vice president, each of whom is entitled to a term of six years.

“Such a design was deliberately made not to match with the (four-year) term of the president,” Chen said, so that their power of monitoring and investigating the behavior of public officials and civil servants will not be compromised.

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