The legislature yesterday unanimously supported the Executive Yuan’s veto of a controversial amendment to the Accounting Act (會計法) on the first day of a two-week extra session, temporarily snuffing a political firestorm.
A vote of 110 to zero means that the amendment, which would have exempted city and county councilors from charges of misusing public funds and released hundreds of academics from probes into their use of receipts to claim government funds, will be nullified.
Three of the 113 lawmakers did not vote yesterday afternoon, including Deputy Legislative Speaker Hung Hsiu-chu (洪秀柱), who is visiting China, independent Legislator May Chin (高金素梅) and Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) Legislator Yen Kuan-heng (顏寬恆), who decided not to vote because the amendment could have exonerated his father, Yen Ching-piao (顏清標), an imprisoned former lawmaker.
The vote, at least for now, puts to rest one of the biggest legislative controversies of recent years after the public condemned the nation’s political parties for their “late-night secret deal” on the final day of the previous legislative session, when opposition parties, which favored the decriminalization of academics, collaborated with the KMT, which had an eye on getting Yen out of prison, in closed-door cross-party negotiations.
With its majority, the KMT dominated a morning vote on the agenda for the extra session.
Notable items among the 49 proposals included an amendment to the Income Tax Act (所得稅法), related to the controversial capital gains tax on securities transactions, and legislation related to the 12-year compulsory education system, pension reform and a national referendum on the construction of the Fourth Nuclear Power Plant in Gongliao (貢寮), New Taipei City (新北市).
The KMT also agreed to place proposals by the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) and the Taiwan Solidarity Union (TSU) on legislation against monopolization in the media on the agenda.
However, the DPP’s “three anti-nuclear bills,” which are proposed amendments regarding the promotion of a nuclear-free homeland (非核家園推動法), and to the Nuclear Reactor Facilities Control Act (核子反應器設施管制法) and the Referendum Act (公投法), failed to make the list, despite them being supported by the TSU and the People First Party.
Premier Jiang Yi-huah (江宜樺) is scheduled to report to the legislature today on the 12-year compulsory education system, another disputed policy that could spur heated debate.
The controversial proposal for a referendum on the Fourth Nuclear Power Plant is scheduled for the latter part of the extra session, which concludes on June 27, KMT caucus whip Lin Hung-chih (林鴻池) said.