Sun, Jan 11, 2004 - Page 3 News List

DPP pushes for special session

By Fiona Lu  /  STAFF REPORTER

The Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) caucus will petition for a special legislative assembly directly after the scheduled recess of the current session on Tuesday, a DPP lawmaker said yesterday.

Legislator Chen Chi-mai (陳其邁) said that the DPP would propose a special legislative assembly to push for a discussion on the NT$500 billion budget concerning 10 major construction projects unveiled by the Executive Yuan last November.

The special session would also handle the expected constitutional amendment to halve the 225-seat Legislative Yuan to 113 seats and a postponed financial legislation regulating the government's setting and use of the Resolution Trust Cooperation (RTC), Chen added.

The DPP caucus planned to submit the petition on Wednesday in the hope that the Legislative Yuan will kick off the three-day special session the next day.

Chen said that the party was determined to file for a special session in order to advance these key bills, despite a proposition passed by the Legislative Yuan on Friday that lawmakers shall reconvene for a new session three weeks early on Feb. 6.

The pan-blue Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) and People First Party (PFP) caucuses came up with the proposal to counteract the ruling party's idea of holding the special session.

Lawmakers eventually voted 116 to 83 for the DPP's plan.

Chen said the DPP would go for the petition, as it was imperative to push on with the bills before the Lunar New Year.

The special NT$500 billion budget awaiting the legislative approval, for example, was key to national economic development, according to the DPP legislative leader.

"But the KMT and PFP caucuses filibustered the bill and abused their numerical advantage at the legislature to stop the budgetary bill from being advanced before this session," he said.

Chen also said that the two parties lacked the motivation to honor the pledged legislative reform.

"The KMT and PFP members' blocking at Friday's assembly of the constitutional overhaul showed that their actions were out of accord with their words," he said.

In response, Legislative Speaker Wang Jin-pyng (王金平) said, "The Legislative Yuan would screen the proposal submitted by the DPP caucus complying with formal procedure."

According to Wang, there should be a multiparty discussion among caucus leaders before the legislature decide on a conclusion to the proposed session. He said he expected that the Legislative Yuan would probably settle the DPP motion by a vote.

But PFP legislative leader Chou Hsi-wei's (周錫瑋) response immediately dealt a blow to the DPP.

"The PFP will not endorse such a political show," Chou said.

Chou and his comrade, Legislator Liu Wen-hsiung (劉文雄), suggested that legislators should send the NT$500 billion budgetary bill back to the Executive Yuan.

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