KMT eyes punishment for lawmakers defying vote ban

The China Post staff

The opposition Kuomintang is expected to punish 10 of its lawmakers believed to have defied party discipline in voting for President Chen Shui-bian’s nominees for three top government agencies.

KMT legislative whip Lin Yi-shih said yesterday he has suggested to the party’s top decision-making organ that it level severe punishment on the 10 lawmakers.

Their support helped appoint former vice premier Lai Ing-jaw to serve on the 17-member Council of Grand Justices and Yao Chia-wen to serve as president of the Examination Yuan, which oversees civil servants.

Many KMT lawmakers have urged the party to expel those disobeying party orders.

“Cases where our lawmakers disobeyed a party decision and voted will be handled quickly and according to party regulations,” KMT Chairman Lien Chan told reporters yesterday, after returning from the United States.

Lien demanded a thorough investigation and proper punishment as soon as possible. The party will make dealing with the six lawmakers’ defections its first priority, said Lien.

Of the 10, the six lawmakers ignoring the party-sanctioned boycott in Friday’s vote on President Chen’s nominations for the Examination Yuan’s presidents and 19 members would received heaviest punishment, said Lin. Please see KMT on page

Two of the six are not KMT members officially, but are independent lawmakers who have been allied with the KMT. It is expected the KMT will decide to cut ties with the six eventually. As an opposition party, the KMT does not care how many lawmakers it has, what matters most is unity within the party, said Lin Feng-cheng, KMT secretary general. Also on the punishment list are three aboriginal lawmakers who voted for Chen’s nominees for grand justice Thursday, and one who voted for the president’s nominees of Control Yuan members. But the three aboriginal lawmakers, who did not show up in Friday’s vote at the KMT’s warning, would face lighter punishment, said Lin.

Top KMT officials have a consensus to punish the 10 “as soon as possible,” said Lin.

On Friday, the KMT and its ally the People First Party failed to block 20 of the 21 nominees to the Examination Yuan, Taiwan’s highest government agency in charge of recruitment of civil workers.

Yao, an ex-chairman of the ruling Democratic Progressive Party, successfully, but narrowly, won his way to the Examination Yuan’s top post.

Yao received 113 votes, just enough to send him to the top post at the Examination Yuan. Most of the lawmakers from the KMT and the PFP — which together control 115 of the legislature’s 225 seats — did not cash their votes as they hope abstention would kill Yao’s candidacy.

His named deputy Chang Po-ya, nonetheless, failed to gain majority approval.

Chang, whom the opposition had reportedly promised to support, failed to garner enough votes. She received only 102 votes, 11 short of the majority confirmation. There were speculations that many DPP lawmakers sacked Chang at the last minute. Friday’s outcome marked a humiliating setback for the KMT.

Some PFP members said the DPP had paid at least several hundred millions of NT dollars for the six KMT lawmakers’ votes. Chou Po-lun, a senior DPP lawmaker, hit back at the accusation, saying the ruling party had paid not even a cent, otherwise the government’s nominees for Control Yuan seats would not have failed to gain enough votes Thursday.