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Premier Jiang to return to Legislative Yuan
Speaker Wang not invited to KMT caucus meet
Taiwan News, Staff Writer
2014-04-15 02:58 PM
TAIPEI (Taiwan News) – Premier Jiang Yi-huah will appear at the Legislative Yuan for a question-and-answering session on April 18 for the first time since students occupied the chamber a month earlier, a committee decided Tuesday.

After ruling Kuomintang lawmakers cut short a promised clause-by-clause review of the trade-in-services pact with China on March 17, hundreds of students entered the Legislative Yuan the next day and stayed there for 24 days, until after Legislative Speaker Wang Jin-pyng promised the passage of a framework law monitoring talks with China would come first.

A legislative committee decided Tuesday noon that Jiang could return to face questioning from lawmakers on April 18 and 22.

The small opposition Taiwan Solidarity Union disagreed, saying it wanted an apology and an investigation first for the beating of its lawmaker Chou Ni-an during the incidents surrounding the March 23-24 occupation of the Executive Yuan. During the evening of March 23, a limited group of students and protesters entered the Executive Yuan building, including Jiang’s offices, and stayed there until riot police expelled them the following morning by using batons and water cannons. Several people, including Chou, said the officers used excessive force and beat up unarmed peaceful demonstrators.

The TSU said the government had not yet addressed the complaints and demands for an investigation, so therefore Jiang should not be scheduled to hold a regular session yet as if everything had returned to normal. However, the KMT used its majority on the committee to reject the TSU request.

A legislative official said the repairs to the chamber after its occupation by the students were on target and Friday’s session could be held as planned.

KMT lawmakers said they did not expect the main opposition Democratic Progressive Party to boycott Friday’s session. If they did, it would be the 39th time this happened, which would not meet with popular support, said KMT legislative chief whip Lin Hung-chih.

President Ma Ying-jeou, who chairs the KMT, and its legislative caucus were planning to hold a meeting Tuesday evening about how to deal with the trade pact and the framework law.

The legislative speaker had not been invited to the meeting, reports said, possibly due to the ongoing power struggle between Ma and Wang. Last September, the president used allegations from prosecutors of influence peddling to rule the speaker unfit to serve. His KMT membership was revoked, but the Taipei District Court later ruled in his favor. The ruling party announced just last week it would file an appeal against the verdict.

Lin said the legislative speaker did not participate in party caucus meetings in order to maintain his impartiality as leader of the parliament. Other KMT lawmakers however said it would be more beneficial for the outcome of the discussions to have him present because of his experience and close connection to the issues at hand.

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