Tue, Jan 01, 2008 - Page 3 News List

Coalition pushes for transparency

By Ko Shu-ling  /  STAFF REPORTER

A coalition of smaller political parties and legislative watchdog groups yesterday urged the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) and Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) to support their campaign to make the legislative procedure more open and transparent.

Representatives of each party attending yesterday's forum promised, if elected, to attend legislative meetings, serve the people not their own interests, and not engage in physical clashes.

They also endorsed a pledge that they would strive to make transparent the procedure and outcome of cross-party negotiations, Procedure Committee meetings and voting at plenary legislative sittings.

Former premier Tang Fei (唐飛), head of the Taiwan Vision Forum and Association which organized the forum yesterday, said that with a new electoral system, they hoped to see better quality legislators in the new legislature.

Ku Chung-hua (顧忠華), chairman of Citizen Congress Watch, said that his organization would like to see a legislature that is civilized, open, transparent, fair and effective.

The first step toward that goal, he said, is to let the public have access to the legislative procedure, particularly the video-on-demand live broadcast of committee meetings and plenary sittings.

Ku said he would like to see such information and closed-door inter-party negotiations accessible both on TV and the Internet.

Chien Hsi-chieh, executive director of Peacetime Foundation Taiwan, said legislative committee meetings should be available to the public and cross-party talks should be recorded, both in video and audio formats. Voting on the legislative floor should be conducted in the manner of disclosed ballot, he said.

Former legislator and now economics professor at National Chengchi University Thomas Lee (李桐豪) said that legislative committees should take steps to improve their effectiveness.

Chen Yao-chang (陳耀昌) of the Home Party proposed the next president appoint the premier from the majority party in the legislature. Mary Chen (陳曼麗), a convener of the Green Party Taiwan, said her party supports a transparent legislature and would like to see the age of suffrage lowered to 18.

Meanwhile, the Taiwan Solidarity Union (TSU) said yesterday that a majority of the people surveyed in a poll said that they support a third political force in the legislature.

The poll, commissioned by the TSU and conducted by Shih Hsin University's Poll Center on Dec. 27 and Dec. 28, showed that nearly 55 percent of respondents said the legislature must have other political parties in addition to the DPP and KMT, while almost 11 percent said the hoped to see only the DPP and KMT in the legislature.

The TSU topped the list of favored third parties, TSU spokeswoman Chou Mei-li (周美里).

Also See: Legislative reform can boost public confidence

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