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A Study of the Legislative Yuan's Function– Case Analysis of Interpellations
Interpellation is used to refer to the right of legislators to submit oral or written questions to government officials about affairs for which the government is responsible and to demand that the officials answer them in writing or orally. This is a process through which the individual members of the legislature may come to understand, comment on and control the government's policy, and may exhort the government to correct individual official's illegal or inappropriate acts (Liu Ching-jui, 1982; 251). In addition to interpellations, the legislative bodies of the Western that have developed democracies also exercise the right of investigation to keep the government in check. This right is either provided for explicitly (Germany, Japan) or implicitly (the United Kingdom, the United States, France) in the constitution. In Taiwan, the Legislative Yuan has become the country's sole representative office since assuming most of the powers of the Control Yuan and the now-defunct National Assembly after the many attempts to amend the ROC Constitution. However, the right of investigation still falls within the authority of the Control Yuan, which limits the Legislative Yuan's ability to keep a tight rein on the executive branch. In order for the Legislative Yuan to live up to public expectations, it amended and enacted five acts before January 12, 1999, and all these changes took effect after then. The alterations were aimed to improve the function of the Legislative Yuan, not least the right of interpellation. Although the Democratic Progressive Party came to power in 2000 after the first political transfer of power in almost 55 years, it has been unable to secure a majority of seats in the Legislative Yuan via elections. This has resulted in a schism whereby the executive branch is controlled by one party and the legislative branch by others. This analysis attempts to explain the new regulations regarding interpellations. How have lawmakers of the ruling and opposition parties adapted to their new roles under a split government after the 2000 power shift? What controversies have arisen by lawmakers' questioning of the premier? What advantages has the interpellation process developed in other democracies? What are the shortcomings of the current interpellation process in Taiwan? And what can be done to improve the situation in Taiwan?
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