Thu, Feb 28, 2002 - Page 3 News List

Pan-blue camp gets 19 convenerships, Pan-green gets 17

By Stephanie Low  /  STAFF REPORTER

The pan-blue camp yesterday gained control of 19 seats while the pan-green camp gained control of 17 seats in the race for the convener positions of 12 legislative committees.

Three convener positions are available in each committee, making a total of 36 openings up for grab.

On the side of the pan-blue camp, the KMT and People First Party dominated in seven committees by jointly seizing two convener positions in these committees. These included the Home and Nations, Foreign and Overseas Chinese Affairs, National Defense, Economics and Energy, Finance, Transportation and Judiciary Committees.

On the side of the pan-green camp, the DPP and Taiwan Solidarity Union took the lead in the other five committees. They were the Sci-tech and Information, Budgets and Final Accounts, Education and Culture, Organic Law and Statutes, and Sanitation, Environment and Social Welfare Committees.

The conveners were decided according to an agreement reached by leaders of legislative caucuses on Tuesday. The agreement stated that the convener positions were to be allocated to the political parties according to their representation in the legislature and each party was to recommend their own candidates to fill the positions.

In this way, most committees managed to save the trouble of taking a ballot -- with the exception of two, where some minority independent lawmakers, led by Tsai Hau (蔡豪) and Kao Meng-ting (高孟定), protested the agreement because they were completely left out of it.

There are a total of nine independent lawmakers in the current legislature. Three of them have already joined a party-based legislative caucus, though they still maintain their independent status.

These are Eugene Chao (趙永清) and Chang Hua-kuan (張花冠) who have joined the DPP legislative caucus, and Sisy Chen (陳文茜) who has joined the PFP caucus.

Chao and Chen were elected as conveners of the Sanitation, Environment and Social Welfare Committee and Foreign and Overseas Chinese Affairs Committee, respectively, with the assistance of their caucuses.

By contrast, the remaining six independent lawmakers, without the backing of a caucus, virtually stood no chance to serve as convener of any legislative committee.

Beside the protest action from Tsai and Kao, the races also triggered some internal skirmishes within the DPP caucus.

DPP lawmakers Liu Chun-hsiung (劉俊雄) and Hsu Chih-ming (徐志明), unhappy with their caucus' decision to assign legislator-at-large You Ching (尤清) as a convener of the Judiciary Committee, criticized the caucus leadership for what they called an under-the-counter deal.

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