Taiwan’s Opposition Probes Government in First Use of New Powers

(Bloomberg) -- Taiwan’s opposition lawmakers used a contentious new law for the first time against the government of the ruling Democratic Progressive Party, escalating a bitter political fight that could hobble President Lai Ching-te’s agenda just weeks after he took office.

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The lawmakers on Wednesday announced a probe into the authorities’ role in granting a broadcasting permit to a new television station. They accused officials in the DPP government of pressuring an independent committee to approve the license to Mirror TV, allegations the party denied.

It was the first use of the powers granted under an amendment last month to give lawmakers greater ability to investigate the president and officials. The KMT and its Taiwan People’s Party allies, who hold a narrow legislative majority, pushed through the bill despite the DPP’s objection and street protests by Lai’s supporters.

Under the revised laws, the investigative unit will have more power to demand documents from related government departments and summon officials for questioning. The body will operate until December 31 and longer if needed.

A spokesperson of Lai’s office urged the lawmakers to refrain from using the new powers, saying the constitutional court has yet to confirm whether the law complies with the self-ruled island’s constitution.

The constitutional court is set to hold a hearing on July 10 over the DPP’s petitions for a review of the legislative amendment and request for an injunction.

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