Sun, Nov 16, 2003 - Page 3 News List

Lawmakers get poor report card

REPORTERS' SURVEY Journalists covering the Legislative Yuan gave legislators a failing grade for their performance in the last legislative session

By Fiona Lu  /  STAFF REPORTER , WITH CNA

Wang Yeh-lih, left, Chiu Hei-yuan, center, and Hung Yu-hung, right, announce the results of an evaluation of lawmaker by reporters who cover the Legislative Yuan. The Taipei Society and the Action Alliance for the Reform of the Legislature held a new conference yesterday to announce the results of the 2003 legislative supervisory report.

PHOTO: LIU HSIN-TEH, TAIPEI TIMES

Most senior reporters covering the Legislative Yuan think that special interest groups have become seriously involved in the operation of the legislature's committees, members of a parliamentary watchdog group said yesterday.

"Over 90 percent of senior reporters deemed that interest groups had considerably expanded their influence to the operation of the 12 legislative committees in the past legislative session," said Wang Yeh-lih (王業立), a professor of politics at Tunghai University and a member of the Taipei Society (澄社).

Wang was the convener of the society's recent survey of 46 reporters about the performance of the nation's lawmakers in the legislative session from February to June.

"Legislators obviously need to make a profound improvement in their professional performance since the reporters gave such an unfavorable reviewe," Wang said.

Based on a scale from zero to 10, lawmakers received 4.36 regarding their overall performance.

None of the legislative caucuses received a grade higher than five in the survey.

Wang said the reporters surveyed cited the interference of interest groups as a major reason behind the inefficient operation of legislative committees.

Most of the reporters believed party caucus leaders called too many negotiating sessions and cited such negotiations as a key factor in the ineffectiveness of the committees.

The reporters also attributed the lawmakers' inefficiency to political bickering among parties and opposition lawmakers' filibusters.

"But they claimed that the Executive Yuan could not shirk its share of the blame for the inefficiency," Wang said.

"Over half of reporters felt that Cabinet officials lacked the will to communicate with lawmakers when it came to disagreements on lawmaking issues," he said.

The survey found that a number of lawmakers in various parties improperly held two or more posts in addition to their legislative duty, while some also promoted their own businesses at the legislature.

"Legislators failed to discipline themselves with regard to conflicts of interest. The reporters' negative assessment should merit a full self-examination by all of the lawmakers," Wang said.

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