Thu, Oct 29, 2015 - Page 1 News List

KMT votes to lift legislative term limits

CHU’S THREE REFORMS:The KMT chairman said that he would push for neutrality in the speakership, increasing parliament efficiency and improving transparency

By Stacy Hsu  /  Staff reporter

Legislative Speaker Wang Jin-pyng talks to the media in Taipei yesterday.

Photo: Lo Pei-der, Taipei Times

The Chinese Nationalist Party’s (KMT) Central Standing Committee yesterday passed a motion to lift a self-imposed term limit on legislator-at-large seats for legislative speakers, opening the door for Legislative Speaker Wang Jin-pyng’s (王金平) potential re-election for a fourth term.

The proposal, jointly submitted by five committee members, was passed with the signatures of 29 of the 39 members, without being put to a vote at a routine meeting of the committee in Taipei.

The motion recommends an amendment be made to Article 2 of the KMT’s regulations on nominations for legislators-at-large and overseas legislators, which stipulates that KMT legislators-at-large are generally allowed to serve one term, but those with special contributions to the party are eligible for re-election.

The last paragraph of the article — dubbed the “legislative speaker clause” — states that KMT members who meet the above criteria and also serve as legislative speakers are entitled to a third term as a legislator-at-large.

The “legislative speaker clause” was added to the regulations in October 2011, before the end of Wang’s second term as legislator-at-large, for the apparent sole purpose of allowing him to retain his role for a third consecutive term.

Wang first assumed the speakership in 1999.

Under the new amendment, KMT legislative speakers who fulfil requirements would be exempted from the three-term limit.

“The legislative speakership is held by a legislators-at-large whose power and influence are accorded by their party. As such, their neutrality and authority might be compromised and questioned if their party can strip them of their position at will … or block their re-election bid by imposing a term limit,” the motion stated.

“In an effort to let the party’s legislative speaker fulfil duties without distractions, we propose that the committee make an amendment to the nomination regulations for legislators-at-large,” it added.

KMT spokesperson Lin Yi-hua (林奕華) said the committee did not discuss any specific KMT member or the party’s potential legislator-at-large candidates for the Jan. 16 elections at the meeting.

Prior to the meeting, KMT presidential candidate Eric Chu (朱立倫) said ensuring neutrality in the speakership was one of the three legislative reforms he plans to push for, if he wins the presidential race.

“The other two planned reforms include improving the efficiency of the legislature and improving transparency in legislative negotiations,” Chu said.

None of the three reforms would be affected because of a single individual, Chu said.

“My objective is to establish a long-term system. Any KMT members who disapprove of, or refuse to accept, these pending changes will not be nominated by the party as its candidates,” he added.

Wang said on the sidelines of an event in Taipei that the passage of the motion indicated support from leaders of both the KMT and the Democratic Progressive Party for a neutral legislative speaker and a reformed legislature.

“The public also looks forward to seeing these plans become a reality,” Wang said.

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