Thu, Dec 26, 2002 - Page 8 News List

Lawmaking must not be obstructed

By Jan Shou-Jung 詹守忠

Both the ruling party and the opposition have been manipulating procedures to block each other's legislative bills. The pan-blue camp uses its majority in the Procedure Committee to block bills proposed by the Executive Yuan, thereby keeping them out of the legislative agenda. Meanwhile, the green camp retaliates with the "reconsideration" process.

Thanks to this mutual destruction, none of the bills passed by the Fifth Legislative Yuan since its inception almost a year ago are major public-goods or reform laws.

After the media criticizes the legislature's fruitless operations, lawmakers from the two sides would start another war of words blaming each other and further ensuring the legislature's status as the source of chaos.

The boycott methods employed by the current opposition camp are neither as dexterous nor fierce as those employed by the DPP before the first full-scale legislative elections in 1992.

At that time, the DPP similarly blocked legislative procedures just for the sake of opposing the ruling KMT, but for doing this the DPP was able to gain the image of a reform advocate.

In contrast, the KMT is now simply viewed as a troublemaker. The reasons behind this are misuse of the methods and the lack of a correct understanding of the political situation.

Solid doctrine

First of all, no matter what methods the DPP adopted for resistance, it had a complete set of political concepts and propaganda. Take for example the abolishment of Article 100 of the Criminal Code. The DPP caucus made an announcement clearly stating that it would refuse to negotiate and would reject all budget and legislative bills until Article 100 was abolished. (The article proscribes punishments for dissent and subversion.)

After that goal was achieved, the DPP caucus immediately showed goodwill and a harmonious atmosphere emerged during that session. The backlog of bills was then cleared. The issues under contention were clearly defined, as were the different layers of strategies. Principles regarding when to stand firm and when to let go were also followed.

In contrast, ever since it became an opposition party more than two years ago, the KMT has uniformly boycotted all bills and policies that have to do with President Chen Shui-bian's (陳水扁) political platform. The KMT does not publicize an all-round set of political concepts, nor does it have any proper alternative proposals. Naturally, the public will feel that the KMT is obstructing the ruling party and opposing everything that has to do with Chen.

In the past, the KMT controlled a majority in the legislature and therefore was still able to push important bills through despite the opposition. The DPP was also able to respond according to the circumstances, making appropriate concessions on some issues and demonstrating a willingness to consider the country's interests.

Today, however, the DPP does not have a majority in the legislature, and the Procedure Committee is controlled by the pan-blue camp. As a result, major legislative bills do not even have a chance to be voted upon on the legislative floor. Certainly, one reason for this is the ruling party's mistakes in its governance strategies, but the KMT-controlled Procedure Committee cannot shirk the blame for putting the legislative car in neutral.

Some of the bills currently frozen at the Procedure Committee are aimed at implementing Chen's election promises, but there are a larger number of reform bills planned and formulated during the KMT era.

This story has been viewed 2832 times.

Comments will be moderated. Keep comments relevant to the article. Remarks containing abusive and obscene language, personal attacks of any kind or promotion will be removed and the user banned. Final decision will be at the discretion of the Taipei Times.

TOP top