Tue, Apr 07, 2015 - Page 3 News List

Major parties neglecting constitutional reform: SDP

’IRRESPONSIBLE’:The SDP convener said the party’s goal was to see democratic principles enshrined in the Constitution, which should also promote diversity

By Lii Wen  /  Staff reporter

The Social Democratic Party (SDP) yesterday accused the nation’s major political parties of being “irresponsible” about constitutional reform and urged the legislature to prioritize the public good over partisan interests.

SDP convener Fan Yun (范雲), a National Taiwan University professor, told a Taipei news conference that proposed amendments to the Constitution should ensure social diversity is represented in the legislature through electoral reforms.

The SDP’s goal is to see social democratic principles included in the Constitution, she said, adding that the Constitution should promote labor, ethnic and gender rights, environmental justice and taxation justice.

The Chinese Nationalist Party’s (KMT) recent proposal to keep the number of legislators at 113 showed its “insincerity” in pursuing reforms, while the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) has wavered in its commitment to electoral reform, Fan said.

DPP Chairperson Tsai Ing-wen’s (蔡英文) rejection of the idea of changing Taiwan’s government system to a parliamentary one was premature because reforming governmental institutions requires a thorough discussion, Fan said.

She said Taiwan should considering adopting the Finnish parliamentary system, in which the executive branch is primarily led by a Cabinet formed by the largest party in parliament, while a popularly elected president has control over foreign affairs and also serves as a symbol of national sovereignty.

The SDP would like to see the number of legislator-at-large seats increased to ensure the representation of women, ethnic minorities and other underprivileged groups.

Attorney Lee Yen-jong (李晏榕), who plans to run for a legislative seat on the SDP ticket in Taipei’s Zhongshan (中山) and Songshan (松山) districts, said the SDP has proposed increasing the number of Aboriginal representatives in the Legislative Yuan from six to at least 16.

National Taiwan University professor Yen Chueh-an (顏厥安), a prominent proponent of constitutional reform, said the SDP’s proposals were on the right track to ensure social diversity in the legislature.

“A healthy legislature should reflect the entire spectrum of diverse opinions among society,” Yen said, adding that a parliamentary system would provide a friendlier environment for smaller parties.

Although the KMT has said it advocates a parliamentary system, Yen said the KMT’s proposals do not seem “quite like a parliamentary system” and could be misleading to the public.

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