Tue, Jul 08, 2003 - Page 1 News List

Legislature's meet beset by problems

BIG SETBACK Legislative speaker Wang Jin-pyng said he thinks six of the seven bills will die because all parties seem unable to build a strong concensus

By Lin Chieh-yu  /  STAFF REPORTER

Though all political parties vowed to review more bills during the three-day extraordinary session beginning today, Legislative Yuan speaker Wang Jin-pyng (王金平) suggested that the Cabinet's six financial reform bills and the controversial referendum law would die on the floor.

Wang made his remarks about the session yesterday after conducting a series of negotiations over the past two weeks, which failed to create enough consensus to pass the seven bills.

"All representatives from party caucuses will still consult on those bills until the last moment. However, there many differing opinions," Wang said yesterday.

"For the time being, I think that only one financial reform bill has a chance of passing," Wang said.

He said that for the time being only the bill for the establishment of free-trade harbor zones is the one enjoying full support from all parties, adding that the ruling and opposition parties will continue to negotiate on the referendum bill and other finance-related bills.

Wang hopes that the public will not blame any party for obstructing the legislation because the seven bills have many controversial details -- all which will seriously affect the country's development in the future and need more time for discussion.

"I believe that none of the lawmakers will oppose these bills for irrational reasons," he said.

"The Executive Yuan should also understand that it is inappropriate to force the Legislative Yuan to accomplish the legislation within a few days because the bills have just been proposed."

Since the opposition agreed to convene the extraordinary session at the request of the DPP, which claimed that the six financial reform bills are crucial to revive the country's economic development, legislators from across the political spectrum began the consultations on June 20, "but they failed to reach consensus on even a single bill," Wang said.

The KMT also accused the DPP of lacking sincerity and said the ruling party called the session in the hopes that it would fail so it could blame the pan-blue camp for obstruction.

"DPP caucus leaders have even refused to make a phone call to an opposition leader to seek support for the bills," KMT legislative whip Liu Cheng-hung (劉政鴻) said.

"The party's trick is to wait and see if the session is a failure and then use that failure as an appeal to attack the opposition parties during the upcoming presidential campaign," Liu said.

He said that if the DPP continues to hold its passive attitude while negotiating, even the "free trade harbor zone regulatory provision" bill may not pass.

Meanwhile, President Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁) yesterday continued to appeal to the opposition parties to cooperate and complete the screening of the financial-reform bills to speed up the government's economic reforms.

The DPP yesterday suggested that the party's legislative caucus will endeavor to get enough support to pass at least three financial bills.

"Those six finance reform bills are six engines to power a take-off of Taiwan's lagging economy," a DPP spokesman said.

"If all the bills were not passed during the session, the people as a whole would be tremendously disappointed," the spokesman said.

The spokesman then called on all citizens to phone the legislators representing their respective constituencies to "exert pressure on them" for passage of the six bills.

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