The Control Yuan, Taiwan's government watchdog body, has been virtually paralyzed for nearly two years, and it remained unclear yesterday if a move by President Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁) to break the deadlock had any chance of ending the impasse.
The president sent a letter to each major political party asking them to recommend potential candidates within a week so that he could prepare a new list of Control Yuan member nominees for legislative approval.
A Presidential Office statement stressed that the president hoped a new list could be approved by the Legislature before its current session ends in January to meet constitutional requirements.
The president has not changed the content of the list of Control Yuan nominees he originally submitted since it was rejected by the opposition-controlled Legislature in early 2005.
The latest move was widely seen as an indication that a new list - reflecting each major political party's representation in the Legislature - may be forthcoming.
Presidential Secretary-General Mark Chen (陳唐山) denied, however, that the list would be based on each party's legislative strength, saying the president would simply choose those candidates he felt were appropriate for his list.
Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九), chairman of the opposition Kuomintang, said yesterday he appreciated the president's effort but thought one week was not enough for the party to make good recommendations. He suggested adjusting the period to a month.
Legislative Speaker Wang Jin-pyng (王金平) felt that the president's move demonstrated good will and said the assembly had no reason to reject or delay the review of the nominees, which he hoped could be done before the body's current session concluded on January 19.
"If one week is not enough, I'm willing to negotiate with the Presidential Office for more time," Wang said. "If the Control Yuan can be set up by February 1, that would be a good time," he added.
Wang said more than 10,000 cases have piled up at the Control Yuan, many of which were appeals for reviews of allegedly unfair judicial sentences. The delay in reviewing nominees has affected many people's rights, he said, adding that he would not exclude the possibility of holding an extraordinary session to resolve the whole issue.
Chen's own Democratic Progressive Party seemed to have mixed reactions to the proposal.
DPP Deputy Secretary-General Tsai Huang-liang (蔡煌瑯) said that the party and its legislative caucus were against the idea of making a list of nominees based on each party's representation in the Legislature. Party Chairman Yu Shyi-kun (游錫?) would decide whether the party recommends any candidates, Tsai added.
DPP caucus leader Chen Ching-chun (陳景峻) argued that the Control Yuan positions should be filled by independent, objective and impartial public figures, saying that individuals with clear political stances were not fit for the positions.
People First Party Legislator Lee Hung-chun (李鴻鈞) said that while his party basically approved the president's effort to make a new list reflecting each party's legislative strength, there needed to be a universal standard for party recommendations.