Thu, Oct 02, 2003 - Page 3 News List

Legislature draws a blank

By Fiona Lu  /  STAFF REPORTER

Accusations of broken promises tumbled out of the Legislative Yuan yesterday after lawmakers failed to finalize a scheduled review of amendments to the Statute Governing the Relations between People of the Taiwan Area and the Mainland Area (兩岸人民關係條例).

"This is the most disheartening day I have ever had in my legislative career," Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) legislative whip Ker Chien-ming (柯建銘) said after the legislative assembly shut down yesterday evening at the request of Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) legislators. "The legislative negotiations went nowhere after the day-long talks for bills including the cross-strait statute, revisions to the Judicial Yuan Organic Law (司法院組織法) and the amended President and Vice President Election and Recall Law (正副總統選舉罷免法)."

The legislative confirmation for the free-trade pact between Taiwan and Panama was the day's only achievement.

"The DPP will make a plea to the legislative speaker to reconvene inter-party negotiations tomorrow," Ker said. "We hope that the Legislative Yuan will have another assembly next week to complete a review for these bills."

The Judicial Yuan Organic Law was delayed after People First Party lawmakers questioned the power of a constitutional interpretation made by the Council of Grand Justices.

The delay follows a claim last week by PFP Legislator Lu Hsueh-chang (呂學樟) that a constitutional interpretation advising legislators to wrap up the review for the judicial laws before Sunday was not necessarily a legitimate order.

Mainland Affairs Council Chair-woman Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) overcame opposition from within her own party when the assembly debated the cross-strait law.

Siding with their Taiwan Solidarity Union (TSU) colleagues, a number of DPP legislators voiced objections to a compulsory eight-year waiting period for Chinese spouses of Taiwanese husbands seeking Taiwanese citizenship.

The lawmakers argued that the eight-year rule would pose a national security threat because 60 percent of the 200,000 Chinese spouses in Taiwan had been in the country more than eight years and would therefore immediately gain Taiwanese citizenship.

Legislator Trong Chai (蔡同榮) said that would spark an upturn in applications from the relatives of Chinese spouses and it is likely that millions of Chinese nationals would be granted a legal stay in Taiwan within a very short time.

Legislator Wang Sing-nan (王幸男) argued support for a humane consideration of Chinese spouses, but he said he would not approve lessening the residency regulation for Chinese spouses until Beijing renounced its threat of force against Taiwan.

DPP criticism of the regulations was soothed after Tsai promised that the MAC would monitor applications and the quota setting for Chinese immigrants.

The TSU, however, reiterated its refusal to give the amendments the go-ahead.

"The TSU will not endorse compromises on the residency rule, the ban on Chinese colleges conducting student enrollment in Taiwan and limited direct links when the compromises are presented without competent auxiliary measures," said TSU legislative leader Liao Pen-yen (廖本煙).

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