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Taiwan Ruling Party’s Appeal on Speaker’s Ouster Fails Again

Taiwan's Parliament Speaker Wang Jin-pyng
Wang Jin-pyng, Taiwan's parliament speaker, presides over a new session at parliament in Taipei on Sept. 17, 2013. Photographer: Sam Yeh/AFP/Getty Images

Sept. 30 (Bloomberg) -- An appeals court upheld a freeze on the Taiwanese ruling party’s bid to expel the speaker of parliament, in a setback for President Ma Ying-jeou’s bid to move on from a series of political scandals.

Taiwan’s High Court ruled today the Kuomintang can’t expel Wang Jin-pyng until a determination is made on whether he tried to stop the prosecution of an opposition lawmaker, as the party claims. The Kuomintang said he tarnished its reputation, while Wang denies any wrongdoing.

The court ruling further slows Ma’s bid to get past a string of scandals -- including the death of a military conscript and plagiarism claims -- that resulted in the resignations of 10 cabinet-level officials this year. Ma, whose approval rating is less than 10 percent, incurred criticism for allegedly circumventing due process in Wang’s case.

The Kuomintang will continue its litigation against Wang, Ma’s office said after the ruling.

Opposition Democratic Progressive Party Chairman Su Tseng-chang today called for recall or impeachment proceedings against the president and a no-confidence vote against Premier Jiang Yi-huah for their handling of Wang’s case. The party will seek cooperation from other parties for the motion, according to party international affairs director Liu Shih-chung. The DPP has 40 of 113 seats in the legislature to the Kuomintang’s 65.

China Agreement

Earlier this year, Wang was recorded on a tapped mobile phone line telling opposition Democratic Progressive Party whip Ker Chien-ming that prosecutors wouldn’t appeal his not-guilty verdict in a commercial trust case. A Kuomintang disciplinary committee revoked Wang’s membership Sept. 11

Wang presided over legislative proceedings in a new session that began Sept. 17, after the Taipei District Court first froze his expulsion. Ma is seeking support for policy priorities including the lowering trade barriers with China, and construction on a fourth nuclear power plant. The DPP’s Ker said today the China trade agreement “won’t pass by year-end.”

Ma’s approval rating fell last month to 9.2 percent, according to the Era TV television network.

To contact the reporters on this story: Yu-Huay Sun in Taipei at ysun7@bloomberg.net; Chinmei Sung in Taipei at csung4@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Rosalind Mathieson at rmathieson3@bloomberg.net

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