Fri, Jul 06, 2007 - Page 3 News List

Lawmakers agree to extra two-week legislative session

NO CONSENSUS The pan-blues put forward 19 bills, including amendments to the CEC and audit laws, while the pan-greens put forward 18 for the agenda

By Shih Hsiu-chuan  /  STAFF REPORTER

Although lawmakers yesterday agreed to convene a two-week extra legislative session, they still failed to reach a consensus on the session's agenda.

"The extra session has been scheduled from next Tuesday to July 20, but the negotiation grounded to a halt when it came to the session's agenda," Legislative Speaker Wang Jin-pyng (王金平) told the press after a cross-party negotiation.

deciding vote

Another cross-party meet has been arranged for next Monday, and the agenda will be decided by a vote if the negotiations break down, he said.

Whether the extra session will proceed smoothly remains uncertain because of the Chinese Nationalist Party's (KMT) insistence that the amendment to the Organic Law of the Central Election Commission (CEC) should be the first item on the agenda, Wang said.

not a priority

The Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) agreed to include the CEC bill on the agenda of the extra session, but it was opposed to making it a priority, he said.

The KMT-introduced CEC bill would result in a pan-blue majority in the body by stipulating that its members are chosen according to the parties' relative number of legislative seats, replacing the current system under which they are appointed by the premier.

controversial

The pan-blue camp, composed of the KMT, the People First Party and the Non-Partisan Solidarity Union, put forward 19 bills to be reviewed during the session, with the most controversial being the amendment to the Audit Law (審計法) which aims to clear the embezzlement allegations against KMT presidential candidate Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九).

Another long-standing debate, that of opening direct transportation links between Taiwan and China, will also be on the agenda as the KMT has suggested revising the 28th, 29th and 30th clauses of the Statute Governing the Relations Between the Peoples of the Taiwan Area and the Mainland Area (兩岸人民關係條例) during the session.

Cross-strait

The amendment calls for the government to allow Taiwanese ships and aircraft to sail or fly directly to China. If the amendment passes, the government will have three months to enact the proposals.

On the pan-green side, the DPP and the Taiwan Solidarity Union put forward 18 bills for the session, including two bills designed to force the KMT return its stolen party assets to the nation.

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