Newspaper article China Post

Battle for the Legislative Speakership Far from Over

Newspaper article China Post

Battle for the Legislative Speakership Far from Over

Article excerpt

The September strife, a struggle for the political survival of the 14-year veteran parliament speaker Wang Jin-pyng, has surged so wildly and confusedly that no clear losers will likely appear on the horizon in the near future; clear winners, however, have noiselessly emerged.

The strife began with allegations of Wang and then-Minister of Justice Tseng Yung-fu allegedly influence-peddling in an attempt to make prosecutors avoid appealing a not-guilty verdict against Ker Chien-ming, Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) legislative caucus whip. Tseng resigned. President Ma Ying-jeou came out in criticism of the affair, taking aim at Wang. Ma had Wang ousted from the Kuomintang, with the loss of party membership meaning Wang would be stripped of his role as Legislative Yuan speaker.

Ma looked to be winning. That has since changed. Ma now has the veneer of loss, as Wang has been granted a temporary injunction by the Taipei district court last Friday. The court injunction has enabled Wang, who was elected by proportional representation, to stay on as speaker until the legal questions of his party membership are settled. The settlement may come in less than a year.

So, on assessment of the landscape is it runs currently, Wang hasn't clearly won; Ma hasn't clearly lost.

A clear winner can be found in DPP leader Su Tseng-chang. He had been strong-armed into debating Ma on the Cross-Strait Trade in Services Agreement. He knew he would lose and has been trying to evade.

The September strife has given him an out. Su was gifted the chance to sideline the debate. He could avoid appearing on TV - and so avoid the loss - while justifying the action by saying the country is currently facing a political crisis and now is not the time to discuss the other less important matter of service trade with China. Looking to run further with his unexpected gift, Su is now planning to have Ma impeached for precipitating the political crisis. Su's chances are thinner than slim.

Another winner is Ker, the perpetual legislative caucus whip of the opposition party and one of Wang's parliamentary buddies. There isn't a law to punish lawmakers for influence-peddling, and that's the reason why the Kuomintang had no other option but to strip Wang of his party membership as punishment, but the opposition party has taken no disciplinary action against Ker. …

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