President Chen Shui-bian (
People First Party (PFP) Legislator Hsu Yuan-kuo (
Chen and Panama President Mireya Moscoso signed the FTA on Aug. 21. The legislature passed the pact on Oct. 1.
Signing such an agreement before the legislature made a final decision on it violated the legislature's power to approve or reject treaties, Hsu said.
Article 63 of the Constitution grants the legislature the power to decide by resolution upon treaties but does not say whether the decision should be made before or after the treaties have been signed.
According to Hsu, Chen criticized the government of former president Lee Teng-hui (
In 1990, Lee instructed former minister of foreign affairs Fredrick Chien (
"I believe legislators' power to decide by resolution upon treaties has been castrated," Hsu quoted Chen as saying during a legislative session in 1991.
"It is a serious problem. We cannot just let this messy matter go by."
Chen said at the time that legislators needed to highlight the seriousness of the problem so that similar situations would not happen in the future.
"Thirteen years ago, Chen highlighted the seriousness of the government damaging legislators' power to decide by resolution upon treaties," Hsu said. "However, today, thirteen years later, it is Chen himself that has allowed this situation to happen again."
Perry Shen (
"The government has not breached the Constitution by signing the Taiwan-Panama FTA," he said. "Signing international treaties before legislative bodies pass the pacts is a commonly adopted procedure."
Shen added that MOFA had consulted and negotiated with legislators from major parties before signing the FTA.
Hsu's allegation resulted from a differing interpretation of the Constitution, Shen said.
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