Taiwan - Government

The government of the Republic of China in T'aipei claims to be the central government of all of China. Its constitution was drafted by a constitutional convention at Nanjing (Nanking) on 15 November 1946; it was adopted on 25 December 1946 and promulgated by the national government on 1 January 1947. All governmental powers originally emanated from the National Assembly; however, the powers of the National Assembly have been curtailed. The first National Assembly, which was elected in November 1947, had 2,961 delegates, selected on the basis of regional and occupational representation. The original delegates held their seats "indefinitely," until control of the mainland could be reestablished. Since 1969, the number of seats gradually increased with the addition of new seats for Taiwan. In April 1990, President Lee Teng-hui revoked the emergency decree of 1948 which had allowed the 1,947 deputies to remain in office and the "indefinite" deputies had to retire by December 1991. With the promulgation of constitutional amendments on 25 April 2000, the National Assembly's functions are limited to amending the constitution and altering the national territory after a public announcement by the Legislative Yuan. In addition, the Assembly may impeach the president or vice president within three months of a petition initiated by the Legislative Yuan. The National Assembly's 300 delegates are selected by proportional representation of the political parties in the Legislative Yuan.

The president is the head of state and of the Executive Yuan, which functions as a cabinet. Previously, the National Assembly chose the president. After amendments to the constitution in 1992, however, citizens now elect the president by direct popular vote. The president may serve a maximum of two consecutive four-year terms. Under the president, there are five government branches known as yuans (councils or departments): legislative, executive, control, examination, and judicial. The legislative yuan, elected by popular vote, is the highest lawmaking body. As in the National Assembly, many members of the 1948 legislative yuan held their seats until 1991.

The executive yuan, comparable to the cabinet in other countries, is the highest administrative organ in the government. There are eight ministries, two commissions, and a number of subordinate organs under the executive yuan. The premier—the president of the executive yuan—is appointed by the president of the republic, with the consent of the legislative yuan. The president is empowered to compel the premier to resign by refusing to sign decrees or orders presented by the latter for promulgation.

The legislative yuan is the highest legislative organ of the state. It has a binding vote of no confidence which would lead to the dissolution of the executive yuan. Of its 225 members, 168 are chosen by universal suffrage and the remaining members are appointed through a system of proportional representation. Members serve three-year terms.

The control yuan, the highest supervisory organ, exercises censorial and audit powers over the government and may impeach officials. It also supervises the execution of the government budget. It has 29 members, all of whom serve six-year terms and are appointed by the president with the consent of the legislative yuan.

The examination yuan is the equivalent of a civil service commission. It consists of two ministries. The Ministry of Examination appoints government personnel through competitive examination. The Ministry of Civil Service registers, classifies, promotes, transfers, retires, and pensions. Its president, vice president, and 19 commissioners are appointed by the president of the republic with the consent of the control yuan.

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