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Talk of the Day -- KMT renews legal fight against speaker

2014/04/11 16:39:20

The ruling Kuomintang (KMT) decided Thursday to take its legal battle against the Legislature's speaker to the next level by appealing a district court ruling that allowed the long-serving speaker to keep his membership in the party.

The KMT's disciplinary committee attempted to kick Wang Jin-pyng out of the party in September for allegedly using his influence as head of the Legislative Yuan to squash a court case against another legislator.

The 73-year-old Wang, whose seat as a legislator-at-large is contingent upon his party membership, had been awarded an injunction that let him keep his job as he took the case to court. He won the suit at the district court level on March 19.

Wang, continuous head of the Legislature since 1999, is often perceived as being at odds with President and KMT Chairman Ma Ying-jeou. The dicey relationship between the two has been highlighted by an apparent lack of communication during the student protest that ground legislative functions to a halt from March 18 before protesters finally dispersed Thursday.

The following are excerpts of reports from major dailies on the ruling party's decision to appeal:

China Times:

The KMT announced it will appeal the verdict on the very same day that the student protesters in the Legislature were set to leave (even though there were still several days left on the clock before the party had to make its decision to the court).

On the sensitive timing of the announcement, the party said only that it followed the suggestions of its lawyers and claimed no political considerations.

Lo Min-ton, an attorney for the KMT, said the appeal was launched because if Wang is allowed to block the disciplinary action, it could also overturn previous cases of revoked membership. He called that possible outcome "seriously damaging to the principle of party autonomy."

The party gave several other reasons for appealing, including a claim that a district court does not have the authority to make decisions on a political party's internal matters.

Of note is Wang's brazen last-minute announcement that he would not attend a March 21 emergency meeting with Ma meant to deal with the protest.

The Legislature head gave the ruling party another slap in the face April 6, when he pledged that he would not oversee any more consultations between ruling and opposition lawmakers over the trade-in-services pact, dear to Ma's administration, until the legislation of rules overseeing cross-strait agreements, a demand made by the protesters. (April 11, 2014)

United Daily News:

In a brief statement late Thursday evening, Wang said he respects the KMT decision to appeal and will leave other matters up to his lawyer.

Wang's lawyer Hsu Ying-chieh declined to make any statements other than saying he would need to consult with his client before commenting publicly.

Despite the measured response from Wang and his attorney, KMT legislator Lo Shu-lei blasted the appeal as "extremely dumb" at a time when major bills of national importance are sitting in the Legislature and require Wang's experience.

Tsai Chin-lung, a KMT legislator who had launched a petition to get the party to drop the case, called the party's decision "regrettable" because it "does not have the capital to deal with internal divisions" at a time when more effort should be put into the economy.

Tsai called on the president to "change his mind" about the appeal before the April 14 deadline to file the decision with the court. (April 11, 2014)

(By Wesley Holzer)
ENDITEM/jc

Related stories:
●April 11: China Times: How can a divided KMT lead the country?
●April 10: KMT to continue legal battle against legislative speaker
●April 6: Ruling party lawmaker blames speaker for selling out Kuomintang
●March 19: Wang Jin-pyng retains KMT membership (update)