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