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Tainan mayor defiant after Control Yuan impeachment vote

Tainan mayor defiant after Control Yuan impeachment vote

Taipei, Aug. 4 (CNA) Tainan Mayor Lai Ching-te said Tuesday that it was unacceptable for the Control Yuan to vote to impeach him earlier that day for failing to attend Tainan City Council meetings.
The Control Yuan, the branch of government charged with investigating and censuring improper behavior by civil servants and public officials, voted 7-2 to impeach Lai for "gross negligence" by not fulfilling his duty to attend question-and-answer sessions at the council.
The Control Yuan said the en masse absence of Lai and city government officials at the city council meetings has set a "bad example" in the local government system.
In a news conference held at the city government hall, Lai said the move "is not acceptable."
According to the Republic of China Constitution, Lai's case will now be turned over to the Commission on Disciplinary Sanctions of Public Functionaries under the Judicial Yuan for careful review and a decision on whether to discipline the mayor.
The harshest discipline he could face would be removal from his post.
Lai demanded in the news conference that the Control Yuan explain the basis for its impeachment vote, noting that coordination of disputes between the city government and council fall under the jurisdiction of the Executive Yuan, not the Control Yuan. In calling the vote, the Control Yuan has transgressed its authority under the Constitution and has damaged democracy, Lai contended. He also accused the Control Yuan of conducting "selective investigations," questioning why the watchdog body has "neglected its duty" by not probing the recent colored powder explosion at a water park in New Taipei or the controversial changes to high school history textbook curriculum guidelines.
Lai also said that what really hurts democracy in Taiwan is alleged vote-buying by Tainan City Council Speaker Lee Chuan-chiao.
He likened the Control Yuan's impeachment vote to "putting the cart before the horse" and asked what it will do if Lee is convicted of vote-buying.
Upon hearing about the impeachment vote, Lee said that the basis of democracy is rule of law, and he urged Lai to return to the council meetings so that they can operate normally for the sake of the 1.9 million Tainan residents.
Hsieh Lung-chieh, head of the ruling Kuomintang's (KMT's) Tainan chapter, said that Lai has violated the spirit of checks and balances needed in a democratic system, and should openly apologize for his behavior.
Yen Chun-tso, head of the opposition Democratic Progressive Party's (DPP's) Tainan chapter, said that Lai's absence from the city council meetings represents an insistence on democratic values and exposing political darkness.
Lai announced Jan. 6 that he would not attend any city council meetings until vote-buying allegations against Lee have been addressed through the judicial system.
Lee, a member of the KMT, won the election for council speaker Dec. 25, 2014 by defeating then-incumbent Speaker Lai Mei-hui of the DPP by a 29-26 margin, even though the KMT held only 16 seats in the 57-member council compared with 29 for the DPP.
Lee was indicted on vote-buying charges in early April and released on NT$15 million (US$473,190) bail by the Tainan District Court. (By Yang Su-ruey, Sophia Yeh and Lilian Wu)


Updated : 2021-09-17 08:15 GMT+08:00