Fri, Jul 09, 2010 - Page 1 News List

Legislators brawl over ECFA review

BLOODY ARGUMENTTwo legislators wound up in hospital after fights broke out in the legislature. DPP Legislator Kuo Wen-chen suffered a broken rib

By Flora Wang and Mo Yan-chih  /  Staff Reporters, with agencies

The KMT caucus also resolved not to invite the premier to brief the legislature and answer lawmakers’ questions regarding the ECFA on the legislative floor.

Earlier yesterday, the KMT-dominated legislature also voted down a proposal by the DPP caucus to pass a draft bill regulating the process and content of cross-strait deals, establish a task force within the legislature to play an active role in signing cross-strait agreements and set up a committee to probe cross-strait agreements if necessary.

"Today is the darkest day in the [history] of the Legislative Yuan,” Lee said in the legislature.

“The KMT not only killed the public referendum proposals [on the ECFA], but also denied the legislature its right to review the agreement article by article,” the DPP secretary-general said.

The legislature agreed to call a provisional session yesterday afternoon through Wednesday next week.

The agenda of the session includes the ECFA, a cross-strait copyright protection deal, a proposed amendment to the Disaster Prevention and Protection Act (災害防救法) and a controversial draft act on rural renewal that has already been criticized as being designed simply to garner support for the KMT.

At a separate setting later yesterday, KMT Secretary-General King Pu-tsung (金溥聰) accused the DPP of acting as a “minority bully” against the KMT during deliberations on the ECFA.

King urged the opposition not to oppose the economic pact “irrationally.”

“Democracy runs according to majority rule and our legislators were elected by voters. The DPP’s violent opposition is tantamount to bullying,” King said of the chaos in the legislature.

King said the DPP’s local government heads, including Kao-hsiung Mayor Chen Chu (陳菊), Tainan County Commissioner Su Huan-chih (蘇煥智) and Yunlin County Commissioner Su Chih-fen (蘇治芬) had all acknowledged the benefits of the ECFA and that the DPP should not deny the potential benefits of the pact.

“The ECFA has its pros and cons, and for Taiwan, the ECFA will definitely bring more benefits than disadvantages,” he said.

“We welcome the DPP to oversee the pact, but it should not act against it for no reason,” he said.

KMT Spokesman Su Jun-pin (蘇俊賓) said the party respected the DPP’s right to deliberate in the legislature, but added that the KMT would continue to demand the pact be reviewed as a whole rather than going through it clause by clause.

The DPP insists it wants to screen the articles in the ECFA one by one to expose what it calls potential disadvantages.

As an opposition party, the DPP has the responsibility to safeguard Taiwan’s interests and to prevent the KMT from locking Taiwan irreversibly with China, newly elected DPP caucus whip Ker Chien-ming (柯建銘) said.

The KMT caucus’ insistence that the ECFA be reviewed and passed in its entirety is an indication that the party and the government are not being transparent about the political concessions they have made to China in the pact, Ker said.

ADDITIONAL REPORTING BY CNA AND SHIH HSIU-CHUAN

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