Sun, Jun 15, 2014 - Page 3 News List

KMT, DPP trade extra session barbs

BLAME GAME:The ruling party responded to claims that it has made extra sessions the norm by blaming the DPP and the Sunflower protests for stalling the legislative process

By Alison Hsiao  /  Staff reporter

Police put up barbed-wire barricades around the Legislative Yuan in Taipei yesterday.

Photo: CNA

The Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) yesterday rebutted the accusation leveled by the opposition and civic groups that it has normalized the calling of extraordinary legislative sessions, saying that the blame for making the contingency measure a habit lies with the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) for its “continual obstruction and paralyzation of the legislative process.”

President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) last week said that an extra session had to be called because legislative procedures had been delayed by the Sunflower movement, which started on March 18 with the occupation of the Legislative Yuan in Taipei to protest the government’s handling of the cross-strait service pact and ended on April 10.

KMT spokesman Charles Chen (陳以信) yesterday reiterated Ma’s stance, stressing that the progress of many key government bills was stalled by the occupation.

“In consideration of the public’s livelihoods, the ruling party has no other choice but to call an extraordinary session,” Chen said.

He then said that the DPP had been “putting the cart before the horse” and shirking political responsibility when it said the previous day that the KMT has made calling extraordinary sessions the norm.

“What has been normalized is the DPP’s strategy of occupying the speaker’s podium,” Chen said, adding that the opposition party has consistently paralyzed the legislature and blocked the substantive review of bills with its “minority [party] violence.”

The KMT’s accusations that its rival regularly sabotages the legislative process came after DPP Legislator Tsai Chi-chang (蔡其昌) on Friday criticized the KMT’s “majoritism” tactics after it outvoted the DPP to push through its proposed agenda for the extra session, suggesting that the governing party may use its majority to ram controversial bills through in the session.

Though it confronted the DPP, the KMT ignored civic groups’ earlier remarks about the legislative “delays” the Ma administration blames on the Sunflower movement.

The Citizen’s Congress Watch and the Civic Awakening Union on Friday said that holding the movement responsible for the delays was a nonstarter, since “every plenary session bar one held since the last legislature has delayed its commencement, but still failed to fulfil the meeting requirements even after an extended session called.”

Citizen’s Congress Watch executive director Chang Hung-lin (張宏林) said that after the last legislative plenary session (each legislature has eight), lawmakers owed the public 50 meeting days and in this legislature, which is only halfway through, that number stands at 57.

Without an extended session, the current plenary session that delayed its commencement for 20 days, owes the public 20 meeting days, according to the group.

The two groups said that lawmakers should start the plenary session as scheduled and “call for an extended session, not an extraordinary session, in which only certain bills can be deliberated.”

“Attempting to ram through controversial bills in an extra session would only further polarize society or even trigger a second Sunflower movement,” Chang said.

In related news, police have again erected razor wire barricades outside the Legislative Yuan compound against the possibility of protesters storming the building when the extra session opens.

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