Fri, Apr 13, 2007 - Page 3 News List

Legislative group drops proposal for English proficiency

By Loa Iok-sin  /  STAFF REPORTER

A proposed amendment requiring presidential candidates to pass the General English Proficiency Test (GEPT) was dropped in the legislative Home and Nations Committee yesterday.

Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) legislator Hsieh Kuo-liang (謝國樑) recently proposed an amendment to the President and Vice President Election and Recall Law (總統副總統選舉罷免法) to require future presidential candidates to pass the mid-level GEPT.

"I support the amendment because a president who speaks fluent English may communicate better with foreign leaders, and thus enhance Taiwan's international relations," KMT Legislator Kung Wen-chi (孔文吉) said.

However, all other legislators present at the committee meeting were opposed to the proposal.

"The proposal is ridiculous. As most of our diplomatic allies are Spanish-speaking countries and we have close ties to Japan, are we going to require presidential candidates to know Spanish and Japanese as well?" Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Legislator Huang Chao-hui (黃昭輝) said.

Another legislator said the amendment may create inequality.

"We don't choose our president based on language ability, that's against the principle of equal opportunity as stated in the Constitution," DPP Legislator Cheng Yun-peng (鄭運鵬) said.

After discussion, the committee decided to drop the proposed amendment, but the committee did pass stricter party nomination requirements for presidential candidates.

"We decided only political parties that received more than 5 percent of the vote in previous presidential or legislative elections may nominate candidates," said DPP Legislator Chang Ching-hui (張慶惠), who presided over yesterday's committee meeting.

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