The Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT), politically bruised following a series of recent events in which lawmakers from within the party abstained from voting on key motions in the legislative assembly, yesterday outlined revised rules to strengthen party discipline.
The moves come ahead of an imminent vote on whether to relax the import ban on US beef containing residues of the feed additive ractopamine.
According to the draft resolution proposed at a caucus meeting yesterday, KMT lawmakers will be punished if they fail to vote in favor of major policies initiated by the Executive Yuan and endorsed by the party.
The resolution would require KMT lawmakers to follow the party line on government-initiated bills. Failure to toe the line could result in the lawmaker being punished by the party.
However, KMT Legislator Ting Shou-chung (丁守中), who drew up the resolution, said it “placed more emphasis on enhancing communications between the Executive Yuan and lawmakers, rather than punishing them.”
The draft resolution will be determined at a caucus meeting the next time caucus whips consult with lawmakers, KMT caucus whip Hsu Yao-chang (徐耀昌) said.
With 64 seats in the legislature, the KMT has been struggling to make lawmakers follow some of the party’s unpopular proposals, including on the US beef issue and the plan to reinstate a capital gains tax on securities.
Voting at the plenary session yesterday provided the latest examples of dissent within the KMT, a party that has seen several lawmakers absent during the past few weeks, even though advance notices of compulsory mobilization had been issued.
The Democratic Progressive Party (DPP), the Taiwan Solidarity Union and the People First Party, which together hold 46 seats in the legislature, yesterday joined forces to demand review of four proposals that had recently been defeated by the KMT by a narrow margin.
A motion to ban the import and sale of US beef, following the discovery of a case of mad cow disease in California in late April, was voted down 51 to 44. A motion to recall President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) was voted down 54 to 44.
Speaking on proposed amendments to the Act Governing Food Sanitation (食品衛生管理法) regarding the import ban on US beef with ractopamine residues, Hsu said that the party will make sure it clears the legislature this session, probably around the middle of next month.