Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Defending the Constitution's Original Intent

Defending the Constitution's Original Intent
Choosing Virtue and Ability
KMT Department of Cultural Affairs
August 6, 2008

The President has exercised his right to nominate Examination Yuan and Control Yuan members, and the Legislative Yuan has exercised its right to confirm the President's nominations. This has established a positive precedent for future constitutional rule.

Control Yuan Nominees: 29
Confirmed: 25
Percentage Confirmed: 80%

Examination Yuan Nominees: 20
Confirmed: All 20
Percentage Confirmed: 100%

The Control Yuan and Examination Yuan nomination and confirmation process has established a positive precedent for constitutional rule. The President's nominations were public-spirited and unselfish, involving not the slightest hint of quid pro quo. The Legislative Yuan exercised its right of confirmation, energetically investigating the nominees' qualifications, upholding its role as stern gatekeepers. KMT Chairman Wu Po-hsiung noted that this was the first time the President had exercised his right of nomination. The party must respect and support the President's right. But the right of confirmation is also a sacred trust granted Legislators by the constitution. Legislators must rigorously investigate the nominees' qualifications, eliminating unfit nominees. This right must also be respected. The President's right of nomination, and the Legislators' right of confirmation are equally important, and must be granted the same respect under the constitution.

The Examination Yuan and Control Yuan nomination process was unlike anything in the past, where the President's list of nominees was forwarded to the party's Central Standing Committee for approval, or merely as a courtesy. Therefore from the party's perspective, it cannot be compared to past processes, in which party disciplinary measures were invoked, demanding that party legislators rubber-stamp the nominees. The party hasn't become lax however. Internal consensus remains solid. Some of the media have accused the party of losing control. This accusation does not accord with the facts.

During the exercise of its right of confirmation, the party caucus thoroughly investigated the nominees' qualifications on its own initiative. The party leadership did not agree with some Legislators' proposals that voting be made totally open. The party continued to maintain discipline. That is why the party caucus resolved the evening before to reject two of the 25 nominees -- Hsu Ping-ching and Chen Yao-chang. Control Yuan Vice-Presidential nominee Shen Fu-hsiung and Control Yuan nominee Yu Mei-jen were given "support in principle, open balloting." The result was 25 nominees were confirmed. Shen Fu-hsiung was unexpectedly rejected. Shen Fu-hsiung was rejected for three reasons: During a question and answer session with Legislator Chiu Yi, Shen provoked a sharp exchange. When asked about his "Four Possibilities" response to whether Chen Shui-bian ever accepted campaign contributions from Chen Yu-hao, Shen refused to come clean. This cast doubt on his courage to "go after big fish," and left a number of KMT legislators dissatisfied. Chiu Yi swore that if Shen was confirmed, Chiu would immediately resign. Some legislators "sacrifice Shen to save Chiu." Some DPP legislators declared their intention to shut out Wang Chien-hsuan, and openly voted for Shen Fu-hsiung. Some KMT legislators didn't think that Shen Fu-hsiung should receive more votes than Wang Chien-hsuan, therefore deliberately reduced the number of votes cast for Shen Fu-hsiung. Few DPP Legislators actually supported Shen Fu-hsiung. This led to Shen Fu-hsiung's unexpected rejection.

Compared to the past, the confirmation of 25 out of 29 nominees is not bad. US Presidents routinely submit their lists of key nominees to the Senate for confirmation. Even when the President personally lobbies every Senator, only 80% of the nominees are confirmed.

Outsiders have criticized the voting process as evidence of disunity between the Presidential Office, the KMT, and the KMT legislative caucus. As a result, President Ma personally stepped forward during the confirmation process for Examination Yuan Vice President and Examination Yuan members, communicating with legislators. KMT Chairman Wu Po-hsiung and Legislative Yuan President Wang Jing-pyng also mediated. As a result Examination Yuan Vice Presidential nominee Wu Ching-ling and 19 other Examination Yuan nominees were all confirmed, proving that the KMT remains unified, and that the party serves as a bridge between the Presidential Office and the Legislative Yuan.

No comments: