Thu, Jun 01, 2006 - Page 3 News List

Both camps to blame for legislative gridlock: pundits

ON HOLD The pan-greens' success in blocking a direct links bill came at the expense of other important bills, which the pan-blues were blatantly holding hostage

By Shih Hsiu-chuan  /  STAFF REPORTER

The pan-blue and pan-green camps should share the blame after the legislative session ended on Tuesday with many important bills still stalled because of a bill on direct transport links with China sponsored by the pan-blue camp, political analysts said.

By employing violence to stop the legislature from voting on the links bill, the pan-green minority successfully killed the measure, which they said would have damaged the nation's sovereignty by depriving the government of its authority to grant permission to aircraft and ships to travel to China.

The pan-green victory came at the expense of other less controversial bills, however, as the pan-blue camp stuck refused to review other legislation until the direct links plan was passed.

Hong Yu-hung (洪裕宏), chairman of the Taipei Society, said the legislature as a whole should be denounced for its inability to pass important bills within a legislative session.

The Taipei Society is a group founded by liberal academics that has pledged to improve the quality of the legislature by closely monitoring it.

"Given that opening direct links with China has been a half-and-half issue in the nation, which can be proved by the fact that the pan-blue only holds a slim majority in the legislature, the pan-blues shouldn't treat the bill as their only priority," he said.

Hong said that if the pan-blues held more than 60 percent or 70 percent of legislative seats, they would be more justified in pushing the bill.

The nation needed to learn more about democracy through consensus and think over whether democracy by majority was absolutely correct, he said.

"For the issues that lack consensus ... it would be better to reach a consensus before putting it to vote," Hong said.

However, Ger Yeong-kuang (葛永光), a professor of political science at National Taiwan University, said that putting a bill to vote was a last resort, and was necessary if all methods of seeking consensus had been tried.

"I didn't think it was correct for the pan-greens to block the legislature from voting on the bill after cross-party negotiations broke down several times," he said.

He said that since that the majority counts in a democracy, the pan-greens shouldn't have hindered the vote.

"If the people really don't like the pan-blue camp's direct links bill, the pan-blue legislators will learn that in the next election," he said.

But Ger said the pan-blues should also shoulder the blame, as they had refused to talk to the pan-green camp about other bills.

"Reviewing bills is the duty of a legislator, and shouldn't be used by any legislator as a means to achieve his own purpose," he said.

He urged legislators from both camps to review bills to uphold the spirit of democracy.

The bills stalled in the legislature will not be reviewed until the next session, which will start in September, unless an extraordinary session is held before then.

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