Mon, Feb 06, 2006 - Page 3 News List

Caucuses reveal their plans for upcoming session

LEGISLATIVE HOPES The three main parties have vastly different ideas on the bills they would like to see passed during the course of the next legislative session

By Ko Shu-ling  /  STAFF REPORTER

Cross-strait bills are expected to be the hottest topics of debate during the upcoming legislative session, due to begin on Feb. 21, while hopes also remain high that the long-stalled arms procurement project and confirmation of the president's nomination of Control Yuan members will finally be approved.

The special arms procurement bill has been blocked at the legislature's Procedure Committee 45 times by the opposition pan-blue coalition of the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) and People First Party (PFP) and the confirmation of the president's Control Yuan nominees 27 times since the beginning of the legislative term in February last year.

Hopes have been rekindled by KMT Chairman Ma Ying-jeou's (馬英九) statement last month that both the arms procurement bill and the confirmation of President Chen Shui-bian's (陳水扁) Control Yuan nominees have to be resolved during the forthcoming legislative session.

Ma said that his party plans to propose its own version of the arms procurement bill later this month or early next month. They will then consult with other parties, including the PFP, the New Party (NP) and the Non-partisan Solidarity Union (NPSU) in a bid to seek consensus on the issue.

Questioning the eligibility of the president's list of Control Yuan nominees, the pan-blue alliance has asked the president to withdraw his nominations and submit new ones.

Because of the opposition-controlled legislature's boycott, the Control Yuan has been inactive since the six-year tenure of the previous Control Yuan members ended on Jan. 31 last year.

Although Chen is expected to reselect his list of Control Yuan members following the recruitment of two of the original nominees into the new Cabinet, it will not be an easy battle to fight for the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) as the KMT is seeking to raise the confirmation threshold from one-half of all lawmakers to two-thirds.

In addition to the arms procurement bill and Control Yuan nominees, a showdown on legal revisions to a cross-strait law seem inevitable in May if the parties fail to see eye-to-eye on the issue by then.

The KMT has vowed to overhaul the Statute Governing the Relations Between the People of the Taiwan Area and the Mainland Area (兩岸人民關係條例) in a bid to attach a "direct transportation" clause to the legislation and strip the Mainland Affairs Council of part of its power.

It has threatened to team up with the PFP to initiate a vote in a bid to steamroll the bill through the legislature when the four-month cross-party negotiation period ends in early May.

DPP caucus whip Chen Chin-jun (陳景峻) yesterday criticized the pan-blue camp's intentions as unbearable.

"Efforts to use their numerical advantage in the legislature to usurp administrative power is an act clearly violating the Constitution and behavior that cannot be tolerated," he said.

Aside from the arms procurement project and Control Yuan nominees, Chen Chin-jun said that revisions to the Organic Law of the Executive Yuan (行政院組織法) are marked as one of the party's priority bills for the next legislative session as well as a national pension bill and other economic reform bills.

KMT caucus whip Pan Wei-kang (潘維剛) said yesterday that her caucus will focus on bills that are in the best interest of the people and the country in the upcoming legislative session and try to disclose more government scandals.

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