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Fri, Jan 04, 2002 - Page 3 News List

Seniority system riles newly elected DPP lawmakers

By Tsai Ting-I  /  STAFF REPORTER

Newly elected DPP legislators expressed their opposition to the party's seniority system in the Legislative Yuan yesterday, but the senior caucus members said they will keep trying to convince the dissenters of the system's merits.

The ruling DPP yesterday held a workshop for its newly elected legislators to help them understand the function of the party's caucus in the Legislative Yuan.

The caucus members explained their new seniority system at the gathering, but newly elected legislators said they opposed the rules.

"Incumbent legislators just want to protect their rights with this seniority system.

"The party's regulations say that every individual party member has equal rights. Allowing senior legislators to choose the committees they want to join before we can, violates the [party's] constitution," said newly elected DPP legislator Chiu Zang (邱彰).

The introduction of the seniority system is a first step in the party's reorganization. Under the system only legislators who have been elected three times can run for key caucus positions. It also states that senior legislators have priority in joining legislative committees.

The regulation, however, is considered a limitation to the potential performance of newly elected lawmakers.

The lawmakers are battling over posts available in the Legislative Yuan's 12 committees. Each committee deliberates bills submitted by the Legislative Yuan and discusses public petitions. Since each committee has a maximum of 21 members, legislators try to get committee positions at the beginning of each session.

"The [seniority] principle was set up by the DPP members of the Fourth Legislative Yuan. We hope that, as members of the Fifth Legislative Yuan, we can make our own decision, based on our own principles," said newly elected DPP legislator Liu Shih-fang (劉世芳).

Responding to the arguments of newly elected legislators, the party's senior lawmakers and caucus leaders said that they will try to sell their freshmen counterparts on the seniority system.

"Every newly elected legislator has the same attitude. They always want to fight for more chances to get recognized. They think that they are the same as re-elected legislators," said DPP caucus leader Lin Feng-hsi (林豐喜).

Lin Cho-shui (林濁水), a senior DPP legislator who has actively promoted the seniority system, explained that implementing the system would bring order to a chaotic legislature and help unite the DPP's caucus.

"Without implementing the system, every individual legislator has a chance to show off. But the legislature wouldn't be as united, or powerful enough to take on other government departments," Lin said.

Tsai Huang-liang (蔡煌瑯), chief executive of the DPP legislative caucus, said that, "reform is difficult, but communication is very important."

Tsai added that the caucus will hold a meeting today aimed at finding a solution to the dispute.

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