Thu, May 17, 2012 - Page 3 News List

Committee vote on bill sparks opposition’s ire

By Loa Iok-sin  /  Staff reporter

Lawmakers yesterday disputed whether amendments to the Assembly and Parade Act (集會遊行法) effectively passed their first reading last week — and they later agreed to put the dispute to cross-party negotiations.

“Let’s act like gentlemen, let’s be gentle,” said Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) Legislator Chi Kuo-tung (紀國棟), who presided over a meeting of the legislature’s Internal Administration Committee yesterday.

He urged his colleagues from the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) and the Taiwan Solidarity Union (TSU) to be “gentle” after opposition lawmakers surrounded Chi, asking him to put the dispute on whether the committee had passed the amendments to cross-party negotiations.

“We’re trying to be gentle, the gentle way of resolving the dispute is to negotiate,” DPP Legislator Chen Ting-fei (陳亭妃) replied.

On Thursday last week, the committee adopted the amendments proposed by DPP Legislator Cheng Li-chun (鄭麗君) and endorsed by 30 other lawmakers in a vote at about 8:45pm, when most of the KMT legislators were absent.

However, KMT legislators overturned the decision in a vote yesterday and then immediately called off the meeting — a move that drew the fire of opposition lawmakers, who called the move “illegitimate.”

Although yesterday’s meeting was scheduled to review other bills, whether the amendments had passed their first reading was still the focus as soon as the meeting began.

As the dispute dragged on, DPP caucus whip Ker Chien-ming (柯建銘) and KMT caucus whip Lin Hung-chih (林鴻池) arrived at the meeting to help negotiate a settlement.

After Lin promised that the KMT would not block the revision of the law and that it would review it once the Executive Yuan delivers its proposals to the legislature, the two sides agreed to settle the dispute in cross-party negotiations at a future date.

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