A recent internal debate within the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) over which of the various legislative committees they would like to sit on could force a number of legislators to use their professional expertise elsewhere.
An internal party poll of KMT legislators held to determine which of the legislature’s eight standing committees they would like to join had 18 KMT lawmakers signing up for the Economics Committee, 11 for the Social Welfare and Environmental Hygiene Committee, 10 for the Transportation Committee and nine for the Finance Committee.
Regulations limit the number of seats per committee to a minimum of 13 and a maximum of 15, with the Economics, Transportation and Finance committees usually allocated the most seats.
President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九), who doubles as KMT chairman, urged the party on Thursday last week to let professionals contribute more to the legislative process in spite of party rules.
KMT caucus rules stipulate that newly elected legislators-at-large cannot sign up for the Economics, Finance, Transportation or other “favored” committees. Under the party’s “points accumulation” system, new constituency legislators are also usually left with committees that the “senior” legislators don’t want.
Thus, the chances of Legislator-at-large Tseng Chu-wei (曾巨威), a professor of finance at National Chengchi University, landing a spot on the Finance Committee appears low, as he faces strong competition from other senior KMT lawmakers.
Likewise, the KMT has five legislators-at-large who would seem to be ideal candidates for the Social Welfare and Environmental Hygiene Committee — child protection specialist Alicia Wang (王育敏), disadvantaged patient representative Yang Yu-hsin (楊玉欣), workers’ rights activist Wu Yu-jen (吳育仁), medical field representative Su Ching-chuan (蘇清泉) and environmental protection specialist Chiu Wen-yen (邱文彥) — but only a few are likely to make it to the committee.
The People First Party (PFP) and the Taiwan Solidarity Union (TSU), with three legislative seats each, along with other minority parties without legislative caucuses, are expected to draw lots for committee placements next Wednesday.
The remaining seats would then go through two rounds of lot drawing between the KMT and the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP): The first will be based on the parties’ legislative seat ratios, giving the KMT 55 seats and the DPP 33 seats; the nine and eight seats left to the KMT and the DPP respectively would be resolved in the second round of lot drawing.
If the minority parties land seats in the more popular committees, the KMT’s options, which are already limited after it lost 10 legislative seats in the Jan. 14 elections, would drop further.
Translated by Jake Chung, Staff writer