Fri, Mar 31, 2000 - Page 1 News List

KMT, DPP decide Assembly's fate

CONSTITUTIONAL REFORM Sweeping changes that will diminish the National Assembly to the status of an ad hoc group have been finalized by the major parties

By Stephanie Low  /  STAFF REPORTER

Caucus leaders and other representatives from the KMT and the DPP shake hands after reaching a consensus on procedures to abolish the National Assembly.


A consensus on constitutional amendments that would marginalize the National Assembly beginning May 20 was reached by the KMT and the DPP yesterday.

The deal would entail most of the functions of the Assembly being transferred to the Legislative Yuan.

Under the agreement, the Assembly would retain the power to propose the impeachment of the president and vice president, and vote on constitutional amendments. In both cases however, the initial proposals would have to be submitted by the Legislative Yuan.

"From May 20, the National Assembly will maintain its title, but become a nominal, non-standing body," said Hong Yuh-chin (洪玉欽), executive director of the KMT's Central Policy Committee, who acted as the KMT's chief negotiator at yesterday's meeting.

KMT and DPP representatives agreed that deputies would be elected to the Assembly by proportional representation three months after an impeachment or constitutional reform is proposed.

The Assembly would meet for no more than one month on each occasion and would be disbanded as soon as the purpose of that meeting had been achieved.

How many deputies will be selected to serve the Assembly has not yet been decided.

Functions transferred to the Legislative Yuan include the right to elect the vice president when the office is vacant; initiating a proposal to recall the president or vice president; confirming Judicial Yuan, Examination Yuan and Control Yuan appointments after they have been forwarded by the president; and boundary changes.

After the reforms are made, the president will deliver his annual state-of-the-nation report to the Legislative Yuan, instead of the Assembly.

The Assembly will no longer have the power to initiate proposed amendments to the Constitution.

Both parties decided that an extraordinary National Assembly session will be convened by April 11 to process the reform, setting their sights on completing the amendments before the upcoming Assembly elections on May 6.

Chen Chin-te (陳金德), director-general of the DPP's caucus in the Assembly, said the DPP and KMT caucuses expected to push through the proposed amendments for a second reading by April 25, in order to finalize the amendments after a third reading and meet the May 6 deadline.

In future elections for the Assembly, Chen explained, the electorate would vote for a political party, as normal. This vote share would correspond with the number of deputies in the Assembly.

"Prospects for the reforms are very optimistic," Chen said, "But we have to race against time and each party needs to spend some time mobilizing its deputies to throw their support behind this."

Chen said the agreement, which took only three hours of negotiations, is consistent with public expectations.

Chen added the proposals should have no problem winning the support of the New Party, since they are very close to its stance of "maintaining the Assembly but not the deputies."

In response, New Party caucus leaders said they were pleased with the KMT's and DPP's moves to reform the Assembly, but felt there were still points that needed fine tuning.

Wang Kao-cheng (王高成), spoke-sman for the New Party caucus, said his party supported "freezing" the Assembly and said it was unnecessary for the Assembly to maintain any function at all.

"The power of referendum should be exercised by the people directly, so there is no need to waste any social costs on electing National Assembly deputies," Wang said.

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