Tue, Dec 30, 2003 - Page 2 News List

Lien says he will help to reduce legislative seats

REFORMS The KMT chairman said he shares former DPP chairman Lin I-hsiung's views on the number of lawmakers, but the nuclear issue is still up for discussion

By Huang Tai-lin and Ko Shu-ling  /  STAFF REPORTERS

Former Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) chairman Lin I-hsiung (林義雄) yesterday asked Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) Chairman Lien Chan (連戰) to help promote legislative reform and support the cause of building a "nuclear-free homeland."

Lien said he agreed that the number of lawmakers should be reduced from the current 223 to 113.

"In principle we share the same view," Lien said after conferring with Lin behind closed doors at the KMT headquarters for about an hour.

Lien said that he would ask legislative caucuses to start discussions on halving the number of legislative seats right away.

"We should not procrastinate now that we have reached a consensus. I hope that a decision can be made [at the Legislative Yuan] during the current legislative session," Lien said.

"Given the strength of Lien and the KMT, there should be no problem passing the issue this year," Lin said.

The issue of a referendum on the Fourth Nuclear Power Plant remained unresolved, however. This has been one of Lin's main causes. Over the past two weeks, Lin and members of the Committee for a Public Referendum on the Fourth Nuclear Power Plant have staged three protests in front of the KMT's headquarters in Taipei, demanding that the party honor its promise to carry out the legislative reforms and support a national referendum on the Fourth Nuclear Power Plant.

Lien said that although they had not discussed the power plant referendum, they exchanged views on broader topics such as how to promote a nuclear-free Taiwan.

He said the KMT is in favor of completing the Fourth Nuclear Power Plant and shutting down the first three.

Lin said that, because no repository for nuclear waste has yet been built and since Taiwan has an adequate supply of electricity, the government should forget about building more power plants.

Lin yesterday also paid a visit to KMT legislative speaker Wang Jin-pyng (王金平) to discuss the legislative reform issue.

Wang's response was that the issue required cross-party negotiations.

"I'll do my best to push for legislative reform as the selection of the 113 members of the legis-lature's constitutional revision committee is finalized today," Wang told reporters after meeting with Lin at the legislative complex yesterday afternoon.

Yu said that he would ask the committee to hold additional meetings to review the halving of legislative seats after they have reached a resolution on proposed constitutional amendments.

The proposal needs the endorsement of three quarters of the committee's members to be valid.

Wang said that both the KMT and the People First Party would be happy to see the Fourth Nuclear Power Plant completed, but "the controversial issue still requires more public debate."

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