Wed, Dec 22, 2004 - Page 3 News List

Party-assets and arms bills blocked again by pan-blues

STAFF WRITER

After two draft bills proposed by the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) yesterday failed to pass the procedure committee for legislative review, the DPP legislative caucus said its caucus whips will call on People First Party (PFP) Chairman James Soong (宋楚瑜) in a bid to gain the party's support for the two bills.

A draft bill aimed at investigating and disposing of assets obtained by parties and affiliated agencies and a bill for the US$18 billion US weapons deal yesterday failed to get to the procedure committee due to the DPP's failure to secure majority support in yesterday's session.

"Major bills, such as the party assets law, still failed to be listed on the procedure committee's agenda because of the PFP's opposition," DPP caucus whip Tsai Huang-liang (蔡煌瑯) said. "In a move to prevent the Legislature from achieving nothing and a mutual destruction between the parties, the DPP caucus will take the initiative to extend goodwill to the PFP. We wish to call on Chairman Soong to bid for legislative efficiency."

According to Tsai, the visit will aim to further clarify Soong's position on the two bills and why Soong's stance of working with the DPP failed to gain PFP legislators' support.

"As for the future, the DPP caucus will be willing to work with the PFP on issues, including policies, law bills and budgets as long as there is no major controversy," Tsai said.

PFP legislative caucus whip Liu Wen-hsiung (劉文雄) yesterday said the caucus is still opposed to what the party called "a purging method" adopted by the proposed party assets law.

"We also insist that the controversies surrounding party assets must be resolved as soon as possible. Therefore, under the PFP's pressure, the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) has begun to accept cross-party negotiations for the regulation of party assets," Liu said.

Liu said the PFP will introduce its own party-assets bill in the next procedure committee and put it on the committee's agenda together with the DPP-initiated bill.

The KMT caucus yesterday morning softened its stance and agreed to cooperate with the PFP on the much-disputed party assets law.

The shift came after cross-party negotiations that successfully gained the PFP caucus' support to block the progress of the DPP's version of the bill by voting against putting it on the procedure committee's agenda.

Prior to the negotiations, the PFP caucus suffered infighting among legislators due to a disagreement over whether to cooperate with the DPP on the party assets bill.

In a meeting presided over by PFP party heavyweights yesterday morning in order to reach consensus on the party assets issue, legislators quarrelled over whether to cooperate with the DPP, with some reportedly threatening to quit the party if the bill went to the procedure committee.

Liu, a key supporter of PFP-DPP cooperation, lost his temper and warned his colleagues not to threaten him with quitting the PFP.

For fear of further infighting, the caucus yesterday finally reached consensus not to support the DPP version but to introduce their own bill.

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