The Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) yesterday backed away from its plan to call an extra legislative session next month to push through the controversial cross-strait service trade agreement, meaning that the review process for the deal is not to begin until March next year.
“As there are still another three public hearings, we have decided during cross-party negotiations that no extra session to discuss the agreement will be called during the recess,” KMT legislative caucus whip Lin Te-fu (林德福) said.
A total of 16 public hearings were scheduled to be held by the legislature’s Internal Administration Committee from Sept. 30. The three remaining sessions are set for Jan. 2, Jan. 13 and March 10.
Caucus whips from all parties reached the decision not to hold an extra legislative session at a meeting chaired by Legislative Speaker Wang Jin-pyng (王金平) yesterday.
The Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) and Taiwan Solidarity Union (TSU) caucuses had vowed to boycott a screening of the cross-strait service trade agreement “at all costs,” should the KMT caucus initiate an extra session to ratify the agreement during the recess .
Lawmakers decided to extend the current session, which comes to an end on Dec. 31, to Jan. 14 to complete a review of amendments to the Communication Security and Surveillance Act (通訊保障及監察法).
The amendments were pushed to the forefront in this legislature session due to revelations of illegal wiretapping practices in the cases related to allegations that the legislative speaker and DPP legislative caucus whip Ker Chien-ming (柯建銘) exerted undue influence on the judicial system.
The cases also prompted some legislators to propose an amendment to the Organic Act of Courts (法院組織法) to abolish the Supreme Prosecutors’ Office Special Investigation Division over the controversial measures used by Prosecutor-General Huang Shih-ming (黃世銘) to investigate the alleged improper lobbying.
However, lawmakers decided yesterday to delay in the session a review of this amendment, according to TSU legislative caucus whip Hsu Chung-hsin (許忠信).