Sat, Jan 08, 2005 - Page 3 News List

Parties squabble over legal reform

STAFF WRITER WITH CNA

Party caucuses yesterday could not agree on whether approval by half or three-fourths of the National Assembly is needed to ratify a constitutional amendment bill passed by the Legislative Yuan, but they reached an agreement on the draft National Assembly Representatives Election Law (國民大會代表選舉法).

The inter-party negotiations on the draft Law Governing the National Assembly's Exercise of Power (國民大會職權行使法) and the draft National Assembly Representatives Election Law was convened by Legislative Speaker Wang Jin-pyng (王金平) yesterday.

The two laws need to be approved by the legislature so that National Assembly representatives can be elected to ratify the constitutional amendment bill on legislature downsizing and abolishment of the National Assembly.

The legislature passed the amendment bill last August, and according to the Constitution, ad hoc National Assembly representatives will need to be elected before May 26 this year to ratify the bill.

But since the Taiwan Solidarity Union (TSU) insisted on heightening the threshold from previously agreed half to three-fourths of assembly representatives, the caucuses also could not reach an agreement on the Law Governing the National Assembly's Exercise of Power yesterday.

The Non-partisan Solidarity Union (NPSU) sided with the TSU on this matter. Both laws will be arranged for discussion in the sitting next Friday, but while the draft National Assembly Representatives Election Law is expected to be approved, the other law will need to undergo further negotiation.

The draft National Assembly Representatives Election Law stipulates that 300 representatives will be elected with the whole country as a single constituency, and the seats will be distributed according to the votes political parties and groups secure in the election.

The NPSU, meanwhile, urged a review of a series of constitutional amendments concerning the halving of the number of legislative seats and changes to its electoral system because it feels such moves would stifle the existence of smaller parties.

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