Vowing to play a key role in reform, a group of legislative candidates from the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) yesterday laid out their plan to reform the nation’s much-criticized legislative body.
An alliance composed of 19 DPP candidates for district and legislator-at-large seats in the eighth legislature in the Jan. 14 elections presented a white paper on legislative reform to drum up support for what they called a new wave of reform of the nation’s -democratization process.
“The legislature has reached a point where reform is necessary in view of the performance of the seventh legislature, which set some records — its budget cuts were the lowest, the number of erroneous legislative bills was the greatest and the legislature was billed by many as the worst in the nation’s history,” said Lin Cho-shui (林濁水), a DPP candidate for Sinjhuang District (新莊), New Taipei City (新北市).
A five-term lawmaker since 1993 before he resigned in 2006 to protest the party’s handling of the corruption scandals involving -former president Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁) and his family, Lin urged voters to support members of the alliance “so as not to miss an opportunity for legislative reform.”
The DPP stands a good chance of breaking the long-term legislative domination of the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) and its pan-blue allies next year, Lin said, citing the latest prediction by xFuture’s Center for Prediction Markets, the electronic exchange at National Chengchi University, that the KMT may not win a majority.
On Dec. 14, xFuture predicted that the KMT would win 56 seats in the 113-seat legislature, the DPP 51 seats, and non-party and other parties six seats.
Should this happen, it would be the first time in history the legislature would not be dominated by the pan-blue camp, and thus a chance for legislative reform, Lin said.
Lo Chih-cheng (羅致政), a candidate for Banciao District (板橋) in New Taipei City, said that members of the alliance, if elected, would address three major problems of the legislature by abiding by “three rejections.”
They vowed to reject last--minute bills that receive only cursory scrutiny and result in erroneous revisions, reject being a rubber stamp for the government and reject closed-door negotiations that are open to manipulation by special interest groups, Lo said.
The white paper identified four dimensions to reform the legislature.
The candidates demanded a legislature marked by “professionalism” in terms of a seniority system that grants influential committee positions and other prerogatives to lawmakers on the basis of the relative length of their continuous service on committees as well as staff and information provided to support legislative operations.
They said that legislative committees shall not only be the venues where deliberation of -lawmaking takes place, but also allows inter-party negotiations and a non-mandatory phase some bills would enter into once they are out of committee review that oftentimes overturns the decisions made during the committee review stage.
Lo said they would demand bipartisanship of the legislative speaker and deputy speaker and that they shall not take part in task forces and meetings in connection with party affairs organized by presidents, -premiers or party leaders.
They also pledged to revise related acts to delegate the legislature’s investigative power and establish a hearing system to provide an effective check on executive branches.