The Kuomintang urged Premier Frank Hsieh (謝長廷) to appoint the members of the newly formed National Communications Commission before he hands the Cabinet over to a new premier next Monday.
According to the Organic Law of the NCC, the Cabinet is obligated to formalize the appointments of the 12 members of the commission immediately after they have been approved by the Legislative Yuan.
The Legislature agreed on the 12 members last Thursday and sent the list of individuals to the Executive Yuan on Monday for final confirmation.
The appointments have yet to be made, however, and the KMT now fears that Hsieh's resignation will cause an indefinite delay in the process, which it argues violates the law.
Hsieh announced on Tuesday that his Cabinet would step down en masse next Monday, when former Democratic Progressive Party Chairman Su Tseng-chang (蘇貞昌) is expected to take over.
KMT Legislator Kuo Su-chun (郭素春) was particularly angered by Cabinet Secretary-General Cho Jung-tai's (卓榮泰) assessment that it was improper for the outgoing premier to make any major decisions, including posting the NCC members' appointments, and would ask President Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁) to deal with the matter.
Kuo said it was the Cabinet's duty to appoint these members and insisted there was no need to ask the president to make the decision.
By delaying the appointment of the 12 members, the Cabinet was ignoring the law, she said.
In response, Cho told The Taiwan News that he was uncertain whether the list of NCC members had been sent to the Cabinet and declined to reveal when the premier will appoint these members.
KMT Chairman Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) said yesterday the list of the NCC members had been forwarded to the Executive Yuan and urged Hsieh to appoint these members before he leaves to allow the new commission to begin fulfilling its role as an independent body supervising the country's broadcasters and media organizations.
The KMT legislative caucus echoed Ma's request. KMT legislative whip Pan Wei-kang acknowledged that Hsieh might feel frustrated because of his resignation, but insisted he should still fulfill his duties in his remaining days on the job and appoint the members.
Some critics of the commission believe the commission might not pass constitutional muster, arguing that its makeup infringes on the powers of the Executive Yuan.
Government Information Office Director Yao Wen-chih indicated yesterday that the Cabinet would appoint the members in line with legal procedures, but would also ask the Council of Grand Justices to determine whether the new body was constitutional.
The GIO has questioned whether the commission, whose members are nominated by political parties based on the proportion of seats they hold in the Legislature, would cause an imbalance of power between the Executive Yuan and the Legislative Yuan.
Under the law establishing the commission, the 12 members are to assemble voluntarily to establish the body within three days after the Legislature approves the names of the 12 nominees. The members must then select a president and vice president, after which the premier is required to inaugurate them within a seven-day period.
The NCC was expected to be functional before the Lunar New Year holiday, but if Hsieh and the new premier refuse to appoint the 12 members, the deadline may not be met.