Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) lawmakers yesterday called on the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) to display bipartisanship after they voted to authorize funding for the first phase of the Forward-Looking Infrastructure Development Program.
The deadlock over the infrastructure plan was the most prolonged and intense legislative confrontation in Taiwanese history, DPP caucus convener Ker Chien-ming (柯建銘) said.
Passage of the budget required calling three special sessions over two-and-a-half months, Ker said, adding that he hoped the parties would reconsider how the legislature should operate and would work together in the nation’s interest.
Although the DPP tried to communicate with the KMT at every opportunity, it could not allow it to paralyze the legislature and had no option but to push the budget through by casting a historic 2,471 votes in one week, Ker said.
“It would have taken three months if eight rounds of votes had been held for each of the more than 10,000 motions. That would have made the Legislative Yuan useless,” he said. “I urge KMT Chairman Wu Den-yih (吳敦義) to end the vicious political confrontation and think about Taiwan’s future.”
DPP caucus chief executive Yeh Yi-chin (葉宜津) said the party had made concession after concession, including agreeing to slash the budget by tens of billions of New Taiwan dollars, but each negotiation was shoaled by KMT obstruction.
“While the majority must respect the minority in a democracy, we will not allow the minority to paralyze policies that have the support of the people,” she said.
DPP caucus secretary-general Lee Chun-yi (李俊俋) denied accusations that the governing party was ramming the budget through by “packaging” it into a single vote.
“If that were true, we would not have had to hold 2,471 votes for three days and nights. What is the purpose of voting eight times on each motion?” Lee said.
The Council of Grand Justices’ Interpretation No. 342 affirms the authority of the legislature to establish procedural rules for its operations, he added.
DPP spokesman Yang Chia-liang (楊家俍) in a press release hailed the passage of the National Sports Act (國民體育法) amendments and the infrastructure plan budget as historic achievements.
Yang expressed his gratitude to Ker and the party’s lawmakers for their efforts in passing the sports act amendments in time for the post-Universiade parade, held yesterday afternoon.
“This is a great moment for the development of sports in Taiwan; this glorious moment will be remembered by the Taiwanese people,” Yan said, adding that the sports act would protect the rights of the nation’s athletes.
The first-phase budget for the infrastructure plan would usher in an era of better living standards and reinitiate systematic infrastructure construction, Yang said.
The next eight years would see the timely construction of high-quality infrastructure nationwide, he added.
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