The commencement date for the first session of the new legislature was finally set yesterday, although the dispute over an opposition-backed legislative reform proposal that had caused the delay remained unresolved.
At an informal plenary session held yesterday, the motion proposed by the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) caucus that the legislature convenes its first meeting on Friday was adopted, a departure from the normal practice whereby the opening day for the session is decided through party negotiations.
The new legislature took its oath of office on Feb. 1, but had since failed to decide on a date, despite several rounds of inter-party negotiations.
At the heart of the political deadlock was the attempt initiated by the Taiwan Solidarity Union (TSU) caucus to have a standing committee in charge of constitutional review set up under the legislature, to push for change in the current legislative electoral system and to bring transparency to the legislature’s Procedural Committee.
The committee has long been criticized for being a tool used by the KMT caucus to block amendments proposed by opposition parties.
The TSU had previously stated it planned to push for an amendment to the Referendum Act (公民投票法) and changes to the single-member district electoral system.
The Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) caucus backed the TSU’s bid, saying that both initiatives were needed to create a legislature accountable to the people, because the legislature is the only body in the country with the authority to alter the Constitution and because the committee has long been notorious for its misuse.
The People First Party caucus supported the reform proposal, but criticized the tactics the DPP and the TSU had deployed to highlight the issue.
TSU Legislator Hsu Chun-hsin (許忠信) said yesterday that the legislature would not have had to hold the informal session to set the commencement date if the KMT had promised in party negotiations to discuss the reform proposals.
In response, KMT Legislator Wu Yu-sheng (吳育昇) said the party was open to discussion, but it could not agree with the TSU and DPP using the proposals to hijack the legislature.