Coun­cil speaker sug­gests way out for stale­mate over ab­sence of Tainan mayor

The China Post - - LOCAL -

Tainan City Coun­cil Speaker Lee Chuan-chiao ( ) sug­gested on Wed­nes­day a way to re­solve the stale­mate be­tween the city coun­cil and the city gov­ern­ment, one day af­ter the Con­trol Yuan voted to im­peach Mayor Lai Ching-te ( ) over his fail­ure to at­tend Tainan City Coun­cil meet­ings.

In view of Lai’s con­tin­ued in­sis­tence on not step­ping into the city coun­cil hall even af­ter be­ing cen­sured, Lee sug­gested that Lai “ask the City Coun­cil for the day off” and send a rep­re­sen­ta­tive in­stead while also let­ting other gov­ern­ment of­fi­cials at­tend the meet­ings as well.

Not­ing that Thurs­day will be the last day of the gen­eral in­ter­pel­la­tion ses­sion, he said that as long as other city gov­ern­ment of­fi­cials at­tend the meet­ing, the city coun­cil will re­tract a mo­tion to turn them over to the Con­trol Yuan.

Lee ex­pressed the hope that per­sonal dis­putes with Lai will not af­fect the public wel­fare of Tainan’s cit­i­zens.

Mean­while, t he Tainan City Coun­cil­men of the rul­ing Kuom­intang called for Lai to re­spect the sys­tem and re­turn to the city coun­cil meet­ings.

KMT City Coun­cil­woman Chen Shu-hui asked Lai to re­spect the sys­tem, not­ing that the es­tab­lished demo­cratic sys­tem can­not be de­stroyed by one man and in one day.

The Con­trol Yuan on Tues­day voted by a 7-2 mar­gin to im­peach Lai, say­ing that “we can­not count on a saint to rule the coun­try. Even though Mayor Lai en­joys high ap­proval rat­ings, a saint can­not gov­ern. What we want is to keep our con­sti­tu­tional sys­tem in­tact.”

The Con­trol Yuan pointed out that Lai and his city gov­ern­ment of­fi­cials have set “a bad ex­am­ple by aban­don­ing the City Coun­cil en masse” in gross neg­li­gence of their duty.

The Con­trol Yuan said that un­der the Lo­cal Gov­ern­ment Act, the city coun­cil­men are ex­er­cis­ing their right to ques­tion the mayor, and the mayor has the obli­ga­tion to pro­vide an ad­min­is­tra­tive re­port and an­swer ques­tions from the city coun­cil­men.

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 then­in­cum­bent 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.

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