Taiwan News, Staff Writer
2013-09-13 03:35 PM
Friday’s court verdict amounted to a partial and temporary victory for Wang, allowing him to stay on as KMT member, lawmaker and speaker at least for ten days, reports said. The KMT revocation of his membership announced Wednesday would have eventually ended Wang’s 14 years as speaker and 38 years as a lawmaker.
The court ruling allowed Wang to remain a member of the KMT in return for a NT$9.38 million (US$315,800) deposit, but KMT attorney Chen Ming immediately announced he would be filing an appeal within ten days.
Wang’s attorney Hsu Ying-chieh expressed satisfaction with the court’s decision.
The speaker came out late Friday evening to describe himself as a faithful KMT member and to call for an end to the political conflict.
Attorneys for Wang and for the KMT presented their case to the court on Thursday afternoon, but the judges decided not to deliver a verdict until after further discussions Friday.
Wang’s representative argued that the party had not followed the proper procedures in revoking his membership, and that he should still be acknowledged as KMT member, lawmaker and speaker.
The KMT attorney said the protection of the law should supersede Wang’s personal interests.
President Ma Ying-jeou has repeatedly slammed Wang since prosecutors announced last week that the speaker had allegedly lobbied Justice Minister Tseng Yung-fu to help drop an appeal against a not-guilty verdict for senior opposition lawmaker Ker Chien-ming. Prosecutors accused both Ker and Wang of influence peddling. All parties concerned denied having violated the law, but Tseng resigned, reportedly under pressure from Premier Jiang Yi-huah.
After a KMT discipline committee revoked Wang’s party membership Wednesday, the speaker filed an injunction and a civil lawsuit against the party’s measures. The Taipei District Court’s sessions Thursday and Friday dealt with an additional temporary restraining order requested by Wang in order to be able to hold on to his position as KMT member and lawmaker in the short term.
Even if the court rejected Wang’s case, he could still file an appeal within ten days, reports said.
The ruling party handed its revocation of Wang’s membership to the Central Election Commission, which passed it on to the Legislative Yuan for consideration. The procedure will reportedly only be complete when the Legislature replies to the CEC and the latter officially announces the measure as having legal force.
The opposition said the Legislative Yuan should reject the CEC’s notice. In cases of utmost national importance, the CEC should invite its members for a discussion, but it failed to do so for the removal of the legislative speaker, the DPP said.
The opposition party’s Lee Ying-yuan said he would take the case to the Council of Grand Justice to ask for an opinion on whether a party decision could be considered more important than the Constitution.
DPP lawmakers also reportedly planned to amend the Legislative Yuan Organization Act so that a speaker could not be removed without the clear agreement of the Legislature itself. The speaker should also stand above the parties and function as a neutral figure, the DPP said.
Ma’s apparent offensive against Wang has met with widespread criticism, not just from the opposition and from the speaker’s close allies, but also from top KMT leaders past and present. A wide range of senior politicians from KMT Honorary Chairman Lien Chan to People First Party Chairman James Soong said procedures should be respected and Ma could have overstepped boundaries by his repeated news conferences calling for Wang’s ouster.
The KMT is scheduled to hold a party congress on September 29, but action groups said Friday they wanted to mark the occasion with a protest march to launch a recall of the president.