Wed, May 24, 2006 - Page 3 News List

Pan-blue camp blocks bills to alter government system

By Jewel Huang  /  STAFF REPORTER

The pan-blue camp yesterday used its legislative majority to block two constitutional amendments from being submitted for a preliminary review -- while putting its cross-strait transport links bill on Friday's agenda in a third effort to get the controversial proposal passed.

The focus of yesterday's Procedure Committee meeting was whether the People First Party (PFP) would break ranks with its pan-blue allies and support either of two constitutional amendments proposed by the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) and Taiwan Solidarity Union (TSU).

DPP Legislator Chang Chuan-tien (張川田) proposed constitutional amendments to establish a presidential system of government, while TSU Legislator Lo Chih-ming (羅志明) proposed establishing a parliamentary system and suggested lowering the bar for submitting and passing a referendum.

But PFP Legislator Hwang Yih-jiau (黃義交) said his party opposed both proposals because they would lead to "legal independence" for Taiwan.

"Moreover, we have not seen the country function any better each time we have passed constitutional reforms in the past," Hwang said. "Therefore, the PFP objects to wasting social resources by revising the constitution again, especially since we just did it two years ago."

PFP Legislator Liu Wen-hsiung (劉文雄) said that although the PFP was not opposed to discussing a change in the nation's system of government, it was worried that the TSU's proposals would make moves toward Taiwan independence easier.

"We cannot hastily implement constitutional reforms again," Liu said.

With PFP opposition secured, the pan-blue camp quickly shot down the DPP and TSU's amendment proposals.

But the committee did resolve that the pan-blue camp's proposed amendments to the Statute Governing the Relations Between the People of the Taiwan Area and the Mainland Area (兩岸人民關係條例), or the direct transportation link bill, will head to a vote on Friday -- setting the stage for another raucous showdown on the legislative floor.

The pan-blue camp's proposal would see all restrictions on cross-strait transport lifted three months after the amendments become law. The pan-green camp has twice blocked the amendments from review.

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