Wed, Jan 13, 2010 - Page 1 News List

Lawmakers deadlocked over fate of town chiefs

‘PAID SUPPORT’ DPP legislators said a KMT proposal promising township officials jobs was an attempt to buy support for its candidates in year-end elections

By Flora Wang  /  STAFF REPORTER

A deadlock over a proposed amendment to the Local Government Act (地方制度法) forced yesterday’s legislative session to grind to a halt for hours as Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) lawmakers accused their Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) counterparts of trying to buy the support of local officials with the promise of paid jobs.

Occupying the podium late yesterday morning, DPP lawmakers said the KMT-backed proposal was an attempt to garner support for the party’s candidates in the year-end elections for heads of special municipalities.

“[President] Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) is trying to secure support [for the KMT] with public funds,” the protesting lawmakers shouted.

Township chiefs and councilors are set to lose their posts by the end of the year when the townships are converted into districts under special municipalities.

Under the KMT proposal, the township chiefs would be appointed as directors of districts under the special municipalities, while the township councilors would be advisers to the directors, with a monthly salary of about NT$45,000.

Minister of the Interior Jiang Yi-huah (江宜樺), speaking at a separate setting yesterday, said the proposal was a transitional measure that has been accepted by most county commissioners and city mayors.

Jiang said it was also a money-saving strategy because by putting the district consultants on a monthly payroll of NT$45,000 for four years, the total cost would only be NT$3 billion (US$94.4 million).

The KMT soon took over the podium when members of the DPP caucus left for the party’s caucus meeting at noon.

After hours of deadlock over the proposed amendment, the plenary session resumed at around 3pm. Lawmakers eventually passed the central government’s fiscal budget request for this year after cutting NT$20 billion.

Legislators approved an expenditure request totaling NT$1.71 trillion after trimming NT$20 billion and a revenue request totaling NT$1.55 trillion after cutting NT$756 million and then raising it by NT$896 million.

The legislature resolved to allow the government to take out loans to bridge the difference between the expenditure and the revenue.

KMT legislators encircled Legislative Speaker Wang Jin-pyng (王金平) during the review in a bid to prevent their DPP counterparts from taking over Wang’s microphone.

Wang described the paralysis earlier yesterday as a “disaster.”

After passing the budget proposal, legislators took a break to negotiate the proposed amendment to the Local Government Act. Negotiations were still going on at press time.

As the legislature was reviewing the budget proposal, the KMT-dominated legislature axed a number of supplementary resolutions initiated by the DPP, including one that would refer negotiators of the beef import protocol signed by the US and Taiwan a few months ago to the Control Yuan for investigation and another one that would require all cross-strait agreements to clear the legislative floor.

Earlier yesterday morning, the legislature passed an amendment to the Administrative Enforcement Act (行政執行法), banning bad debtors from leading a luxurious lifestyle.

The amendment to the Administrative Enforcement Act was proposed after former Pacific Electric Wire and Cable Co Chairman Jack Sun (孫道存), who owes NT$300 million in unpaid taxes, was seen shopping for luxury items with his wife last year. The couple was also found to be living in a luxury apartment.

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