With the eighth term of the Legislative Yuan scheduled to convene later this month, the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) has aimed its sights on amending the Procedure Committee, calling it the main battlefield on which the governing party blocks the legislative proposals of the opposition party.
According to Article 4 and 5 of the Organization Act of the Legislature’s Procedure Committee (立法院程序委員會組織規程), the committee is in charge of determining whether the procedures of legislative proposals are to form, determining whether the contents of the proposals are within the purview of the Legislative Yuan, combining, sorting and changing of proposal categories and priorities, and arranging the legislators’ reports on proposal reviews to the Yuan Sittings.
The nation saw its first transfer of power when the DPP won the presidency in 2000. The Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT), then an opposition party that held a majority over the DPP in the Legislative Yuan, was accused by the DPP caucus of using its majority to completely stonewall proposals pitched by the DPP caucuses through the Procedure Committee.
Following the transfer of power in 2008 in which the KMT resumed office, the DPP accused the KMT caucus of continuing to stonewall the DPP caucus’ legislative proposals.
DPP caucus director-general Pan Men-an (潘孟安) said yesterday that although the DPP legislators in the last legislative term had suggested legislative proposals in accordance with regulations, the Procedure Committee still refused to accept the proposals.
“This not only goes against the constitutional rights of legislators to propose legislative acts, it also goes against the spirit of democratic government,” Pan said.
“Right now we’re still collecting the proposals from our legislators and the DPP caucus is notifying the other opposition caucus’ to seek their support,” he said, adding that the DPP would propose an amendment to the Organic Law of Committees of the Legislative Yuan (立法院各委員會組織法) and that reforms to the Procedure Committee were the DPP’s top priority for this term.
Taiwan Solidarity Union (TSU) and the People First Party (PFP) caucuses have welcomed such amendments, with TSU caucus convener Hsu Chun-hsin (許忠信) saying the Procedure Committee system absolutely needed reform and PFP caucus convener Thomas Lee (李桐豪) saying that if the DPP caucus were willing to propose the amendment, the PFP caucus would consider working with them.
The KMT caucus is being reserved on the issue.
KMT Legislator Lin Hung-chih (林鴻池) said the KMT caucus is declining to comment because the issue has not yet been discussed within the party caucus.
Previously when the issue was debated, with the opposition party calling for more transparency in holding the committee session, the KMT caucus said that although the Procedure Committee’s session was not completely recorded, it “did allow the press to come in and cover it.”
Lee said that allowing press coverage alone does not constitute being transparent, adding that the recordings of the Procedure Committee meetings should be made public so the public can see the entire meetings and decide for themselves whether the committee was acting reasonably.
Translated by Jake Chung, Staff Writer