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KMT accepts legislator's offer to quit party over citizenship issue

KMT accepts legislator's offer to quit party over citizenship issue

Taipei, Dec. 31 (CNA) The ruling Kuomintang (KMT) accepted Wednesday an offer by Legislator Lee Ching-an to voluntarily relinquish her party membership over a controversy surrounding her alleged dual citizenship.
Juan Kang-meng, head of the KMT's Party Disciplinary Committee, said after a committee meeting that Lee's offer was approved unanimously by the committee in light of the negative impact of Lee's case on the party's image.
According to Juan, Lee presented a number of documents to the committee in support of her claim that she no longer holds U.S.
citizenship, and the committee did not take a stance on whether or not to believe her.
"Every committee member had his or her own opinion on the issue, but the committee eventually concurred that Lee should be allowed to withdraw from the party so as not to damage the party's image, " Juan explained.
Lee announced her decision to give up her KMT membership voluntarily just one day before the committee was scheduled to meet to discuss what measures to take to deal with her case. The KMT reportedly would have expelled her had she not taken the initiative to disassociate herself from the party.
Lee's withdrawal from the KMT came one week after she voluntarily suspended her legislative duties, following the recent delivery of a U.S. report to Taiwan that confirms Lee "has previously been documented as a U.S. citizen with a U.S. passport and that no subsequent loss of U.S. citizenship has been documented." Also Wednesday, the KMT legislative caucus said it was correct for Lee to quit the party voluntarily before the party took action against her.
Lu Hsueh-chang, a deputy whip of the caucus, said the issue has persisted this long because Lee has not tried to handle it properly over the past nine months, which he said indicates a need for Lee to strengthen her damage control capability.
Lee's qualification as a legislator has been challenged since March this year when it was reported that she has never officially renounced her U.S. citizenship even though she has held public office in Taiwan since 1994.
Dual citizenship is strictly forbidden for public office-holders in Taiwan. The Nationality Act requires those with dual nationality renounce their foreign citizenship before assuming public office and to obtain a certificate testifying to the loss of citizenship within one year of their inauguration.
The law also requires those with foreign citizenship to be removed from their posts. Lee admitted that she obtained U.S. citizenship in 1991, but argued that she lost her status as a U.S. citizen "legally" when she was sworn in as a Taipei city councilor in 1994, citing U.S. law which lists serving in a foreign government as one of the legal conditions for the loss of nationality.
Under pressure from the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) , the Legislative Yuan requested the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) in May to help verify with foreign governments whether any incumbent legislators hold foreign citizenship.
A reply by the U.S. State Department was received by the ministry in early December, and the letter was submitted to the Legislative Yuan Dec. 22.
While saying there was no record that Lee lost her U.S.
citizenship, the State Department also noted that U.S. citizens serving in a foreign government "may have committed an expatriating act if they do so with the intent to relinquish their U.S.
nationality." Lee has argued that the U.S. reply means that her U.S.
citizenship status is still up in the air pending a final determination by the U.S. government.
Despite the DPP's call for the Legislative Yuan to act immediately to strip Lee of her legislative post, the legislative body is not planning to take any action before Jan. 31, 2009, the deadline the legislature has given to Lee to prove her loss of U.S.
citizenship.
Lee was first elected to the Legislative Yuan in late 1998 and is currently serving her fourth term in the lawmaking body.
(By Y.F. Low)




Updated : 2021-05-19 02:49 GMT+08:00