Fri, Jul 04, 2003 - Page 1 News List

Lawmakers to meet for extra session

DISPUTED REFORMS After several days of talks, the party caucuses agreed to the special session, but a showdown looms over what will go top of the agenda

By Fiona Lu and Chang Yun-ping  /  STAFF REPORTERS

Lawmakers yesterday agreed to hold a special session next week to discuss several economic-reform bills and a proposed referendum law, but failed to decide what they would review first.

"A three-day special legislative session will be held starting July 8 to deal with a referendum law and six key financial bills," Legislative Yuan speaker Wang Jin-pyng (王金平) said after cross-party negotiations.

The parties had been deadlocked yesterday morning after several days of discussions on the bills and, despite agreeing in the afternoon to hold the extra session, could not agree on an agenda.

"The KMT-PFP alliance will insist on making the referendum legislation the first issue to be discussed in the special session," KMT legislative whip Tseng Yung-chuan (曾永權) said yesterday.

The pan-blue parties will begin the session by reviewing a referendum bill presented by DPP Legislator Trong Chai (蔡同榮), since this is the only version of the bill to have been presented to the legislature so far, Tseng said.

The DPP legislative caucus is resisting moves by the KMT and PFP to make the referendum law a priority.

"Political and election considerations are behind the KMT-PFP alliance's position, not helping the government to improve the sluggish economy," DPP legislative leader Chen Chi-mai (陳其邁) said.

The DPP had suggested that the referendum legislation be reviewed in the next legislative session, which starts on Sept. 5.

If the parties cannot agree on an agenda by the first day of the special session on Tuesday, this will be the first issue the legislators vote on.

DPP Deputy Secretary-General Lee Ying-yuan (李應元) yesterday used the results of a poll to back his party's assertion that the public regards the economic bills as more important.

Lee said 64 percent of respondents to the poll wanted the six key financial bills considered first. Another 20.2 percent wanted the referendum law passed first.

"We found 72.9 percent of pan-green supporters prefer the financial bills to the referendum bill, while 62.3 percent of pan-blue supporters think the same," Lee said.

Lee said that in order to meet the public's expectations of boosting the economy, the legislature should prioritize the financial bills.

The cross-party negotiations yesterday concluded that the KMT and DPP caucuses must host further talks on the referendum legislation ahead of the special legislative session.

Premier Yu Shyi-kun will be invited to report to the Legislative Yuan and take questions at the beginning of the special session.

Also see story:

President pushes agricultural finance reform

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