The Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) has high expectations for its 40-member legislative caucus in the new session, with seven more seats than in the outgoing legislature, party heavyweights said yesterday.
“One thing is sure — that we will do our best to monitor the [President] Ma [Ying-jeou (馬英九)] administration, in particular its economic performance in the wake of any global economic downturn,” Ker Chien-ming (柯建銘), the DPP’s incumbent caucus whip, said at a press conference that laid out the caucus’ plan for the new session and introduced new caucus officials.
Pan Men-an (潘孟安) was named director-general of the caucus, while Chen Ting-fei (陳亭妃) took over as chief secretary and Huang Wei-cher (黃偉哲) as deputy director-general.
Ker said the DPP caucus would be active in the new session with its plan for a series of reform initiatives, including the interpretation of the Constitution, changes to the single-district electoral system and amendment of the Referendum Act (公民投票法), as well as proposals to reform the legislature.
Legislative proposals billed by the party as a priority in the -previous session, but which failed to pass, would also be re-submitted, Ker said.
Notable items of the proposals, which cover a wide range of issues, include the introduction of a property transaction tax based on actual transaction prices; promotion of a nuclear-free homeland by 2025; protection of judicial and human rights; and establishing a food security standard.
In terms of reform of the legislature, one of the most important initiatives would be to improve the transparency of the Procedure Committee, which had been “manipulated by the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) majority for years to block proposals by the DPP,” Ker said.
The committee is the only legislative committee that does not boradcast video coverage of its meetings live online, which is why the public never understood how the committee worked, Pan said.
The caucus is determined to dominate legislation and discussion of the economy and people’s well-being and to incorporate the key components of the DPP’s 10-year policy guidelines — such as the “New Agriculture Movement” and a 10-year long-term care system — into the legislation, Pan said.
The DPP lawmakers are -expected to highlight several central themes that had been raised in the party’s presidential election campaign, including fairness and justice in housing, taxation and the environment, Huang said.
“The DPP does not rule out collaboration with other political parties on any issue, if needed,” the caucus whip said.
In the new legislature, the KMT holds 64 of the 113 legislative seats, the DPP has 40 and the Taiwan Solidarity Union, an ally of the DPP, has three.
The People First Party, generally aligned with the KMT, also has three seats and the other three seats are held by legislators without major party affiliations.