Chiang Yi-hua and Ker Chien-ming: Who Really Trampled over the Constitution?
China Times editorial (Taipei, Taiwan, Republic of China)
October 18, 2013
Summary: The DPP's call for a no-confidence vote was defeated. Will this persuade the DPP to compromise? Will it agree to allow Premier Chiang to deliver his policy report and to respond to questioning? This has become a litmus test, an indicator of whether Taiwan's democracy can function rationally. The DPP's motion for a no confidence vote was defeated. This means the legislature does have confidence in the premier. The DPP may refuse to acknowledge this. But the defeat of the DPP motion proves once again that the KMT is the ruling majority in the legislature, not the DPP.
Full text below:
The US Congress has finally broken its deadlock and reached a tenative agreement on the national budget and the debt ceiling. Can the ROC break its own legislative deadlock? The DPP's call for a no-confidence vote was defeated. Will this persuade the DPP to compromise? Will it agree to allow Premier Chiang to deliver his policy report and to respond to questioning? This has become a litmus test, an indicator of whether Taiwan's democracy can function rationally. The DPP's motion for a no confidence vote was defeated. This means the legislature does have confidence in the premier. The DPP may refuse to acknowledge this. But the defeat of the DPP motion proves once again that the KMT is the ruling majority in the legislature, not the DPP.
The halls of legislature are not city streets. It has its own operating mechanism and its own set of rules. Neither the Speaker of the Legislative Yuan Wang Jin-pyng nor the KMT, should permit the DPP to obstruct the normal functioning of the legislature. The DPP must not be permitted to repeatedly bring the business of the legislature to a grinding halt. The DPP has no excuse for its obstructionism motivated by sheer spite.
As Premier Chiang noted, "A motion for a no confidence vote is a very serious and substantive constitutional matter." A call for the resignation of the cabinet is not about long winded speeches, obstructing legislative proceedings, or occupying the podium. It is about resolving political impasses according to constitutional procedures. Every motion for a no confidence vote is recorded in the annals of the Republic of China's constitutional history.
Consider the political reality. The Ma government and Chiang cabinet both suffer single digit approval ratings. The Speaker of the Legislature Wang Jin-pyng has made clear that the legislature has already expressed its confidence in Chiang Yi-hua. The DPP should therefore allow Premier Chiang to ascend to the podium. In the past, for the sake of harmony, Wang Jin-pyng used party consultation procedures to overcome obstacles. It was his first resort. It was probably his only resort. The result was often legislative wheel-spinning. Wang Jin-pyng should clear away obstacles and allow Premier Chiang to deliver his policy address, in accordance with normal legislature procedure.
The KMT is the majority party, hence the ruling party. The opposition DPP often engages in obstructionism. Yet the KMT never takes any counter-measures. This, to some extent, is the reason for public dissatisfaction with the Ma administration. The DPP motion for a no confidence vote failed. Yet the KMT remains impotent, unable to let the premier address the legislature. Public dissatisfaction will not be directed only at the DPP.
Wang Jin-pyng and the KMT legislative caucus must prove that the Legislative Yuan is not the hallmark of a malfunctioning democracy. They must prove that the KMT is not a ruling party in name only.
The Legislative Yuan weilds police power. It has many other means of removing obstacles to the conduct of legislative business. The DPP legislative caucus can forcibly occupy the podium. But why can't the KMT caucus maintain the dignity of the speaker's podium? The DPP legislative caucus can hold slumber parties on the floor of the legislature. But why can't the KMT caucus enter the hall earlier and seize the initiative? This is not a matter of whether the KMT wants to aid and abet the DPP. KMT legislators must ask themselves whether they value their constituents' trust. Are they willing to leave people with the impression they can do absolutely nothing? Calls went out for the resignation of the cabinet. They came from the DPP. But what about calls for the dissolution of the legislature? Did the public really want Premier Chiang replaced? Or was what they really wanted the dissolution of the legislature? The motion for a no confidence vote failed. The legislature will not be dissolved. But if the legislature fails to restore normal order, public discontent will not abate .
On the Judicial Committee, Ker Chien-ming rammed through an independent investigation. Special Investigative Unit prosecutors must now respond to legislative questioning. This was flagrant political pressure. Ker Chien-ming's influence peddling was exposed. His shame turned to anger. Does the DPP intend to allow itself to be hijacked by this "Party Whip for Life?" Is the DPP really that muddle-headed? Ker Chien-ming has been exploiting the DPP for the past month. If he still refuses to let up, a tide of criticism is inevitable. The KMT's prestige will remain low. But the DPP's prestige will also plummet. Does the DPP really intend to allow this party whip persist in his antics?
Ker Chien-ming seldom questions officials. But since the influence peddling scandal broke, he has been extraordinarily diligent about speaking out on the Judicial Committee. He has questioned administration officials more times than during his entire career as a legislator. Whether his questions were groundless is not the point. As a legislator, it is his prerogative. But Ker Chien-ming and other legislators have asked no questions of Premier Chiang. They have merely held press conferences outside the legislature and called Chiang names. Meanwhile, they refuse to allow Premier Chiang to respond and explain, in accordance with the constitution. This is political persecution. This is not something legislators should be doing.
Ker Chien-ming says we will finally be able to see him go head to head with Premier Chiang today. This is a belated but correct decision. We believe various units of the Executive Yuan and Premier Chiang will agree to confront the matter of the no confidence vote. They will solemnly perform their constitutional duties and responsibilities. The people as a whole look forward to both Yuans confronting each other democratically. This will allow the truth behind the controversy to emerge. It will allow the public to see whether legislative whip Ker Chien-ming or Premier Chiang trampled over the constitution.
中國時報 本報訊 2013年10月18日 04:10