Fri, Sep 09, 2005 - Page 3 News List

Constitutional reform to solve turmoil: lawmaker

BY KO SHU-LING  /  STAFF REPORTER

Only after the second-phase of constitutional reform can the current political turmoil be resolved, a Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) lawmaker said yesterday.

"The seven constitutional amendments over the past few years have only solved some of the constitutional problems," said DPP Legislator Lin Cho-shui (林濁水). "It is crucial that another round of constitutional reforms are launched to further revamp the constitutional framework and the sooner this is done, the better." Lin proposed that both the ruling and opposition parties present their own versions of constitutional revisions and undertake thorough discussions to pave the way for the new round of reforms.

Lin made the remark in response to President Chen Shui-bian's (陳水扁) recent pledge to push for the second phase of constitutional amendments during his meeting with Legislative Speaker Wang Jin-pyng (王金平) on Monday.

Under the Presidential Office's plan, the second-phase would put the three labor rights -- freedom of association, the right to bargain collectively and the right to strike -- into the Constitution. The DPP also aspires to put the Partnership Treaty between the Aboriginal Peoples into the Constitution.

Commenting on Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) Chairman Ma Ying-jeou's (馬英九) request to resume the system of obtaining the legislature's consent for the appointment of the premier, Lin said that he admires Ma's courage to want to weaken the power of the president because he himself may represent his party in the 2008 presidential election.

While the DPP wants to change the governmental system from the current semi-presidential system to a presidential system, Lin said that he personally thinks the parliamentary system is a better choice.

Ma yesterday opposed Chen's proposal to complete a two-phase constitutional reform project.

"The government should focus on the implementation of the constitution. It is more important than to keep revising it," remarked Ma yesterday morning after meeting with Tokyo Governor Shintaro Ishihara.

Ma said that there have been seven revisions of the country's constitution in last decade. No other country in the world revised its Constitution as often as Taiwan.

additional reporting by Mo Yan-chih

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