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Taiwan Speaker Ousted in Political Scandal

Taiwan's ruling party has expelled the speaker of the parliament, in a move that has shaken up the island's politics and put in question a cross-strait trade agreement with Beijing.

Wang Jin-pyng was removed from the party because of allegations that he improperly pressured prosecutors in a case involving a fellow lawmaker.

Wang has denied the allegations and said the investigation against him, which included wiretaps, was illegal.



"Without my being present to explain what happened, the Special Investigation Division was taking advantage of my being abroad and accusing me of engaging in influence peddling," Wang said.



His removal as speaker puts into question the ratification process for a proposed cross-strait trade agreement with Beijing that has been championed by Taiwanese President Ma Ying-jeou.



President Ma has pushed forcefully for the ouster of Wang, a long-time rival, after news of the investigation against him broke last week.



"I believe, in the context of the KMT's (Kuomintang [Nationalist] party) insistence in defending the judicial impartiality and justice, even though the Evaluation and Discipline Committee's decision was a painful one, it nonetheless was a necessary and right decision," he said.



Observers say the move to expel Wang could lead to a split in the ruling party and help the prospects of the opposition in the next election.

(This report was produced in collaboration with the VOA Mandarin service.)

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