Sat, Sep 24, 2005 - Page 3 News List

Wang to convene meeting to discuss NCC strategies

CNA , TAIPEI

Legislative Speaker Wang Jin-pyng (王金平) will convene an inter-party coordination meeting Monday to discuss the budget proposal for the government for the next fiscal year as well as the National Communications Commission (NCC) draft bill.

Legislator Jao Yung-ching (趙永清), a caucus whip of the ruling Democratic Progressive Party (DPP), made the remarks after the DPP legislative caucus called on Wang yesterday to ask him to convene the consultation meeting.

Jao said the opposition Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) legislative caucus is tilting toward lumping the government budget proposal together with the NCC bill, adding that the KMT will see if the NCC bill can be passed before they decide on the budget proposal.

While both the DPP and the opposition agree that it is necessary to set up an institution like the NCC, they disagree on the make-up of the body.

The pan-blue alliance of the KMT and the People First Party (PFP), which holds a slim majority in the 225-seat legislature, has proposed that the NCC be comprised of members in proportion to the number of seats each party holds in the legislature, while the DPP insists that political parties should keep their hands off and let experts and scholars serve on the commission, so that press freedom will not be affected.

Although the DPP claims that such a proportional system is unprecedented, the pan-blue alliance has said that there are precedents in other democracies to appoint NCC members in proportion to the parliamentary strength of the political parties.

For example, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) of the US is normally staffed according to the proportional representation principle, they claim.

In fact, the FCC is comprised of five commissioners appointed by the president and confirmed by the Senate. Only three of the commissioners can be from the same political party.

Meanwhile, DPP caucus whip Chen Chin-jun (陳景峻) had said the DPP caucus will issue an order Sept. 27 to remind all DPP legislators to be prepared for "class-A mobilization" to block the passage of the proportional NCC bill in the legislature.

Chen told reporters that the highest degree of mobilization within the DPP caucus will be necessary because the opposition might put the NCC bill to a vote any time, as the four-month negotiation between the DPP and the opposition is coming to an end.

The NCC bill has been one of the major contentions in the legislature between the DPP and the opposition, which holds a slight legislative majority.

When the previous legislature was closing its final session in late January, the DPP legislative caucus managed to block the passage of the bill through various obstructive methods, including filibustering and barring KMT and PFP legislators from using the rostrum.

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