Sat, Jul 23, 2016 - Page 1 News List

DPP’s party assets bill stalled again

TEXT TACTICS?The Chinese Nationalist Party caucus prepared 180 pages of explanations for its proposed changes to the bill and sought to have them read out

By Alison Hsiao  /  Staff reporter

Democratic Progressive Party and Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) lawmakers hold up signs at a legislative session in Taipei yesterday.

Photo: Fang Pin-chao, Taipei Times

The Democratic Progressive Party (DPP)-backed bill dealing with ill-gotten party assets was stalled in the legislature again yesterday as the first floor meeting of an extraordinary session began, further frustrating the ruling party’s vow to see it pass.

Lawmakers arrived in the general assembly chamber early yesterday to either sign up to speak during expected floor discussions of the bill or — on DPP lawmakers’ part — to occupy the speaker’s podium to foil possible obstruction by Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) members.

However, there was no attempt to block the speaker, with the meeting starting as DPP Legislator Chen Chi-mai (陳其邁) explained the bill.

“This step has taken us 34 years, from the time former legislator Frank Hsieh (謝長廷) in 1992 demanded an amendment to the Civil Associations Act (人民團體法) to establish a new chapter on regulating political parties’ assets,” Chen said. “Now we finally have a chance to review a bill dealing with ill-gotten party assets, which is a manifestation of the advent of the people’s congress.”

This is the first time ill-gotten party assets have been allowed to be discussed in the legislature, but the KMT caucus has failed to fully participate in the review process and refused to attend cross-caucus negotiations on the bill, Chen said.

He said that the then-KMT authoritarian government had exploited the state’s properties and its coffers had an ill-defined relationship with the state coffers, which has produced an uneven playing field for newer political parties.

“Take the case of [the former] East Germany as an example,” Chen said. “What we are doing now is not part of a political vendetta, but the beginning of the formation of the nation’s solidarity. This is not a feud between the blue and green camps, but a victory for the people.”

Chen’s speech ended with loud applause from DPP lawmakers, after which Legislative Speaker Su Jia-chyuan (蘇嘉全) announced a break for recorded, but not public, cross-party negotiations.

After the announcement, KMT lawmakers raised placards and chanted slogans, saying that the KMT was not defending its party assets, but “safeguarding constitutionalism, public justice and the rule of law.”

DPP legislators shouted that the bill “has to pass.”

Former legislative speaker Wang Jin-pyng (王金平) reportedly conducted pre-negotiations with DPP caucus whip Ker Chien-ming (柯建銘) on Thursday night.

Wang yesterday told reporters that the meeting was just a “process” and the conclusion was unknown.

Wang said that the KMT caucus unanimously holds the stance that the party assets would be “leveled to zero,” but added that the proposed bill to deal with ill-gotten assets is in need of revisions, as it is “unconstitutional and against the law.”

The KMT prepared hundreds of pages of revision proposals.

A single motion to revise the title of the bill to read: “Regulations for overseeing and managing assets of political parties,” the explanatory text was more than 180 pages long and contained more than 210,000 Chinese characters.

A revision proposal for article 2 of the proposed bill, calling for investigation powers to be given to the Control Yuan rather than a [to-be-established] “Executive Yuan committee to deal with ill-gotten party assets” was more than 130 pages long.

The proposed amendment to Article 2 said the bill is unconstitutional in its current form, as it would allow executive overreach, KMT lawmakers said.

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