Taiwan's President plays down 'political struggle'

Taiwan's President plays down 'political struggle'

TAIPEI, Taiwan - President Ma Ying-jeou yesterday rejected claims that his reactions to Legislative Yuan Speaker Wang Jin-pyng's (王金平) involvement in the recent influence-peddling case were politically motivated.

When asked about the possibility of reconciliation between him and Wang, Ma said, "Neither of us are men without prudence, but we need to distinguish between right and wrong."

Ma has come under fire from members of both the ruling and opposition parties over the lawsuit against Wang.

Many have accused the president of ignoring due process in his handling of the case, pointing toward the revocation of Wang's Kuomintang (KMT) membership.

With the conclusion of a probe by the Special Investigation Division (SID), the KMT disciplinary committee, which is separate from the state's judicial institutions, assumes responsibility for maintaining party discipline, Ma said, adding that the committee is not obliged to wait for a court conviction to reprimand its members.

Ma cited ex-Cabinet Secretary-General Lin Yi-shih (林益世) among others as examples in explaining that the committee has the right to take action, in accordance with party regulations, if party members have tarnished the party's reputation.

The judicial institutions couldn't have acted against the speaker because the case in which Wang was involved falls under the Legislature's jurisdiction, Ma explained.

Influence peddling is against the Legislature's regulations, but there are no punitive provisions in place, the president added.

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