KMT regrets rejection of constitutional interpretation request

Taiwan's main opposition party Kuomintang expressed regret on Saturday after the Constitutional Court turned down a request by its legislators for an interpretation on a law targeting the party's controversial assets.

Last month, the 35 KMT legislators jointly requested the Constitutional Court to issue an interpretation on the Statute on Handling the Inappropriate Assets of Political Parties and Their Affiliated Organizations, which the KMT considers to be "unconstitutional and unlawful."

The request, however, has been rejected by the court on the ground that it is not supported by an adequate number of legislators.

According to Taiwan's law, a request for constitutional interpretation is considered valid only if it is endorsed by one third of legislators, which means 38 people given that the Legislature has 113 seats.

The KMT legislators have also requested the court to issue an interpretation on that requirement, but the court has not indicated whether it will accept this request.

Commenting on the issue, KMT spokesman Chou Chih-wei (???) said the Statute on Handling the Inappropriate Assets of Political Parties and Their Affiliated Organizations has hampered the normal operation of political parties and impacted the development of Taiwan's constitutional democracy.

He urged grand justices to carefully deal with the KMT legislators' request for an interpretation on the requirement regarding constitutional interpretation.

The party assets law, which was passed in July and took effect in August, empowers a committee to investigate, retroactively confiscate and return or restore to the rightful owners all assets obtained by the KMT and its affiliated organizations since Aug. 15, 1945 -- when Japan handed over its assets in Taiwan to the then ruling party of the Republic of China.

The law assumes that all KMT assets -- except for the party's membership fees, political donations, government subsidies for KMT candidates running for public offices, and interest generated from these funds -- are "ill-gotten" and must be transferred to the state or returned to their rightful owners.

Late last month, the KMT's main bank account was frozen based on the demand of the committee, forcing the party to delay paying its employees their salaries for September. The KMT has criticized the committee for the action, saying it does not have the legal right to ask the bank to freeze the account.

Source: Focus Taiwan News Channel