Interparty negotiations on constitutional amendments broke down yesterday, despite attempts at mediation by Legislative Speaker Wang Jin-pyng (王金平).
The Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) and the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) were divided because of the KMT caucus’ insistence that the legislature’s power to confirm the premier be bundled with the issue of absentee voting.
The parties had previously achieved consensus on lowering the legal voting age to 18, lowering the threshold for legislators-at-large from 5 percent to 3 percent and guarantees of education for residents of outlying islands.
Photo: Chien Jung-fong, Taipei Times
The DPP blasted the KMT for saying that, if absentee voting were not bundled with legislative powers to approve the premier, it would block all constitutional amendments.
This kind of rhetoric is akin to threatening society to submit to the KMT’s views on constitutional amendments, the DPP said.
No political party should attempt to distort the public’s will by forcibly bundling amendment issues, DPP Secretary-General Joseph Wu (吳釗燮) said, adding that the KMT is hampering the nation’s progress by refusing to let individual amendments pass to facilitate constitutional reform.
While DPP Chairperson Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) on Sunday called on Deputy Legislative Speaker Hung Hsiu-chu (洪秀柱) to exercise her influence within the KMT and stop it from blocking the amendments, KMT Culture and Communications Committee Director-General Lin Yi-hua (林奕華) yesterday said that Tsai and the DPP’s focus on the civil rights of 18-year-olds is too narrow, and does not take into consideration the expectations of the majority of society.
There is more support — 70 percent — for the Legislative Yuan being able to confirm future premiers, Lin said, adding that the DPP should not seek to promote its own political agenda when calling for constitutional amendments.
Lin said 60 percent of the public support absentee voting and 50 percent support lowering the legal voting age, and that the KMT is seeking to preserve the rights of 18-year-old citizens, as some might not be able to vote because they are studying abroad
The KMT hopes to achieve more with its proposal because only a complete and well-thought-out plan would help 18-year-old citizens retain their civic rights and duty to vote in elections, Lin said.
Lin accused Tsai of ignoring popular support for the Legislative Yuan confirming future premiers despite her constant talk about Taiwanese democracy.
Meanwhile, civic organizations pushing for constitutional amendments held news conferences in front of the Legislative Yuan yesterday morning criticizing the KMT’s insistence on bundling absentee voting with the right to confirm the premier.
The KMT is hijacking the issue of voting rights of 18-year-olds solely for its own political benefit, the organizations said, urging the party to stop blocking an issue that the public long ago achieved a consensus on.
‘NO EQUILIBRIUM’: Taiwan’s increased defense spending is a good step, but it needs to do more to have the ability to deter aggression from China, a senior US official said The US plans to sell as many as seven major weapons systems — including mines, cruise missiles and drones — to Taiwan, four people familiar with the discussions said. Pursuing seven sales at once is a rare departure from years of precedent in which US military sales to Taiwan were spaced out and carefully calibrated to minimize tensions with Beijing. However, US President Donald Trump’s administration has this year become more aggressive with China, and the sales would land as relations between Beijing and Washington are at their lowest point in decades over accusations of spying, lingering trade tensions, disputes about the
ON THEIR OWN: The KMT has decided not to participate as a party at this year’s forum, and if any members do go, they would not be representing the party, Alicia Wang said The Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) yesterday announced that it would not send a delegation “as a political party” to this year’s Straits Forum, after a Chinese TV program described the planned visit to the annual meeting as “suing for peace.” The 12th forum is scheduled to open in Xiamen, China, on Saturday. On Tuesday last week, the KMT announced that former legislative speaker Wang Jin-pyng (王金平) would lead the party’s delegation to the forum, with KMT Secretary-General Lee Chien-lung (李乾龍) as deputy head. However, on Thursday last week, China Central Television’s (CCTV) Yangshipin (央視頻) program, hosted by Li Hong (李紅), included a headline
RIVERSIDE CAMP: As rescuers continued their search for a missing man, Taipower said that the floodgates at a hydro plant on the Lishi Creek opened due to a malfunction Three people have been confirmed dead and one was missing after being swept away by a flash flood while camping in Nantou County’s Renai Township (仁愛), police said yesterday. Six people from two families were camping near Lishi Creek (栗栖溪) when the riverbanks were suddenly flooded just after 4am, carrying away four of the campers — including two children — who were asleep in their tents, police said. A man who was among those swept away was able to climb ashore and call for help, police said, adding that another man had gone missing in the turmoil at the campsite.
WORKING OVERTIME? NTU professor Lee Duu-jong denied that he had held a part-time position at a Chinese university or joined China’s Thousand Talents Program A candidate for the post of National Taiwan University of Science and Technology (NTUST) president yesterday dropped out of the race following a report questioning his links to Chinese academia and government programs. Lee Duu-jong (李篤中), a professor at National Taiwan University’s (NTU) chemical engineering department, was a member of China’s Changjiang Scholars’ Program in 2006 and was on the list of its Thousand Talents Program in 2017, a report by Chinese-language Mirror Media magazine said yesterday. The article said that Lee is suspected of having held a part-time job at the Harbin Institute of Technology in China and was the recipient