Sat, Sep 17, 2005 - Page 3 News List

Hsieh cools his heels in legislature

BOYCOTT The pan-blue camp again prevented the premier from speaking, still demanding that he offer a sincere apology for the Kaohsiung MRT 'fiasco' first


Premier Frank Hsieh (謝長廷) was yet again blocked from delivering his administrative report yesterday as opposition lawmakers continued their boycott against him on the legislative floor.

Hsieh arrived at the Legislative Yuan around 9am yesterday and was prepared to deliver his briefing.

"The Mid-autumn Festival is just around the corner. As the spirit of the holiday usually means things go without a hitch, I sincerely hope that events at the legislature will prove to be successful today," the premier said before he entered the legislative chamber.

However, the premier's remarks turned out to be mere wishful thinking as opposition lawmakers, mostly from the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT), continued with their request that Hsieh apologize for the Kaohsiung MRT debacle before he be allowed to carry out his briefing.

They also demand that the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) and Taiwan Solidarity Union (TSU) caucuses agree to organize a special task force to investigate potential scandals related to the issue.

Appearing upset that he had again been prevented from delivering his report, Hsieh said that the majority party in the legislature should ensure the smooth running of the legislative meeting instead of interrupting it.

"What they did to us today will stop the government from moving forward and serving the people. It is totally against the spirit of democracy," he said.

At around noon, Legislative Speaker Wang Jin-pyng (王金平) talked to the DPP caucus, hoping that they could reach a compromise with the KMT so that the interruptions could be halted and Hsieh allowed to proceed with his briefing.

However, Wang's attempt to arbitrate was declined, as the DPP insisted that the KMT's requests had nothing to do with the premier's administrative briefing and should be dealt with as a separate issue during the legislative meeting.

"I also hope that the premier can present his briefing as soon as possible. But I really cannot guarantee when he will be able to do that," Wang said.

While waiting, Hsieh took the chance to read and approve some documents, along with his fellow Cabinet members, since he had asked them on Tuesday to continue their work -- such as reading or approving papers, documents or having minor meetings with cross-ministry co-workers -- while they waited for the lawmakers to finish.

At the meeting yesterday, Minister of Foreign Affairs Mark Chen (陳唐山), Minister of Education Tu Cheng-sheng (杜正勝) and Council of Agriculture Chairman Lee Ching-lung (李金龍) spent their time reading and approving documents and papers, while National Youth Commission Chairwoman Cheng Li-chun (鄭麗君) decided to finish a book.

Although opposition lawmakers did not let Hsieh and his Cabinet team carry out the briefing, the legislature did decide to finish the first reviews for the two draft bills concerning artificial reproduction and minimum taxation, and submit them to separate legislative committees for a second review.

The draft bill governing artificial reproduction was introduced on May 18 while the draft bill on minimum taxation was proposed on May 31.

Three reviews are required before a bill becomes law.

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