Sun, Mar 07, 2004 - Page 2 News List

Lee, Lin push petition for reform

GOOD SUPPORT A petition in support of downsizing the legislature has collected 35,563 signatures so far, but more co-operation is needed to get the bill passed


Former Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) chairman Lin I-hsiung (林義雄) and Academia Sinica President Lee Yuan-tseh (李遠哲) said yesterday that 35,563 signatures have been gathered in support of legislative reform and they once again urged the public and all political parties to support the cause.

The petition for legislative reform, which was started on Feb. 20, garnered 35,563 signatures up to March 5. Those who signed the petition included President Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁), Premier Yu Shyi-kun and Formosa Plastics Group chairman Wang Yung-ching (王永慶). Lin and Lee are still trying to gather more signatures.

Lin and Lee have been urging the legislature to pass the bill to downsize the lawmaking body from 225 seats to 113 before March 20. If the bill gets passed before March 20, it is possible that it can be applied to the legislative election at the end of the year.

"I have not met anyone who opposes downsizing of the legislature. Everyone thinks it's a road we should take. Even those who have never taken to the streets have told me that they would do so if it's for legislative reform," Lee said.

Lin said that if most legislators agreed to proceed with downsizing, then the legislative procedure and details should not be a problem. So far all DPP and Taiwan Solidarity Union (TSU) legislators have signed the petition. Nobody from the pan-blue camp has signed it.

Responding to accusations both camps threw at each other, Lin said that the manner in which the two camps work around this issue can be seen very clearly in the press. Whether the reform could be achieved all depended on the willingness of the parties and legislators to change.

"If everyone really has been enthusiastic to pass the bill, it would have been passed last year already and we wouldn't have had to wait until now," Lin said.

He also implied that there was internal conflict and unwillingness to cooperate within the blue camp.

"I have visited KMT chairman Lien Chan (連戰) in the last legislative session and he promised, without hesitation, to support legislative reform. However, there was no sign of progress in the last session and I visited him later," Lin said.

"When I saw him again, I felt that Lien wholeheartedly desired the reform but was powerless to sell the idea to the blue camp. Some people told me that I was a fool to visit Lien, but I thought that for political development it was necessary to put an effort into persuading people with different opinions to reach the same goal," Lin said.

When asked about what they were going to do if the bill was not passed before March 20, Lee said that they would still continue the fight to get it passed as soon as possible.

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