Fri, Feb 07, 2003 - Page 3 News List

Lawmakers rush to register for next session

EARLY-BIRD LIST DPP Legislator Lee Ming-hsien slept outside the registration venue Wednesday night in a bid to be first in line to sign up for the new session

By Crystal Hsu  /  STAFF REPORTER

DPP legislators Lee Chen-nan, center left, and Lee Ming-hsien, second right, register for the new session that began yesterday at the Legislative Yuan.

PHOTO: GEORGE TSORNG, TAIPEI TIMES

Braving the cold and basking in festive moods, 101 out of 223 lawmakers yesterday turned out for a registration ritual held by the legislature to herald its new session.

DPP Legislator Lee Ming-hsien (李明憲) and colleague Lee Chen-nan (李鎮楠) topped the early-bird list.

Lee Ming-hsien slept outside the registration venue Wednesday night in a bid to be first in line. He said he was not at all perturbed by the chill.

"Rather, the experience allowed me time to make preparations for an upcoming Chinese calligraphy exhibition," he said, displaying the Chinese character for "joy" that he had inscribed on a mask.

The exhibition, co-sponsored by Lee Ming-hsien, Legislative Speaker Wang Jin-pyng (王金平) and PFP Legislator Chou Hsi-wei (周錫瑋), opens March 1.

Lee Ming-hsien, who represents Taichung City, said he will continue to push this session for the upgrading of his constituency to a special municipality.

The Ministry of Interior's proposal to create a third special municipality by combining Taichung City and Taichung County stalled after Taipei County Commissioner Su Tseng-chang (蘇貞昌) lodged a dramatic protest against the idea.

Su threatened to quit if the Cabinet failed to upgrade his administration first.

Lee Chen-nan, who arrived at the legislature around 7am, said he hoped to maintain his image as one of the most hardworking lawmakers by showing up early to register.

"I hope the public will understand not all legislators take their jobs lightly," he said.

Assorted civic groups have consistently identified the lawmaking body as the source of domestic political chaos.

Wang, who made internal harmony his Lunar New Year's wish, said the media were to blame for the legislature's negative image.

"The media have spent way too much of their energy on unsubstantiated rumors about the legislature and its members," he said.

"Such reporting has not only misled the public but also contributed to the country's hysterical political culture," he said.

Wang said the Fifth Legislature has been the most efficient, with 302 bills passed in the last two sessions.

KMT Legislator Sun Kauo-hwa (孫國華), who just returned from the US, was the third lawmaker to sign up for the session.

He said he hoped that all the legislative caucuses would set aside their differences and join forces in helping turn the economy around.

Sun was followed in line by PFP Legislator Tsao Yuan-chang (曹原彰).

KMT Legislator Yang Chiung-ying (楊瓊瓔) was the first female lawmaker to complete registration.

DPP Legislator Wang Shu-hui (王淑慧) was the second woman. Wang wore a sign on her chest to let others know that she could not speak up because of recent surgery on her vocal cords.

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