Fri, Oct 13, 2017 - Page 3 News List

Cross-Strait Relations: KMT caucus says it is open to constitutional reforms

By Sean Lin  /  Staff reporter

The Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) caucus would be open-minded about constitutional reforms proposed by President Tsai Ing-wen’s (蔡英文) administration as long as the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) does not propose changing the nation’s title or territory, which would mean declaring independence, KMT caucus Secretary-General Lin Wei-chou (林為洲) said.

The KMT is in favor of Tsai’s proposal to “build a government whose power is proportionate to its accountability,” Lin told reporters on Wednesday.

To avoid potential conflict over the KMT’s stance on constitutional reforms, the caucus would ask KMT Chairman Wu Den-yih’s (吳敦義) about his preference for a presidential or parliamentary system, before the KMT’s recently established task force for constitutional reform holds its first meeting on Monday, he said.

Citing a rejected bill tendered by DPP Legislator Su Chiao-hui (蘇巧慧) last week, which was cosigned by 41 DPP lawmakers, Lin said the caucus is inclined to endorse a parliamentary system to counter calls from the DPP to change the government system from semi-presidential to presidential, which would grant the president greater powers when appointing central government officials and when pushing policy, he said.

To meet KMT supporters’ expectations, the caucus would propose its version of constitutional reform before submitting it to the legislature’s constitutional reform committee, he said.

The caucus would “definitely” block any DPP constitutional reform bill that proposes changing the nation’s official title from the Republic of China or changing the boundaries of the nation’s territory, he said.

The Constitution, promulgated in 1947, includes China as the nation’s territory.

The caucus would otherwise be open to discussing amendments to the Constitution, including changing the political system, lowering the legal voting age from 20 to 18, and allowing absentee voting, Lin said, adding that constitutional reform is the main issue on the current legislative session agenda.

Since the pan-green New Power Party (NPP) would likely propose changing the nation’s title or territory, it would likely put the DPP in a dilemma over constitutional reforms, as it would be forced to make clear its stance, which would upset either China or its Taiwanese independence supporters, he said

The DPP is likely to enter into internal negotiations about constitutional reforms, as former DPP lawmaker Lin Cho-hsui (林濁水), a senior member of the DPP’s “new trend” faction, has spoken against a presidential system, Lin Wei-chou said, adding that the KMT could adopt a more laid-back attitude toward constitutional reform.

Hsinchu County legislator Lin Wei-chou said he is scheduled to resign in December, as he is preparing to run for Hsinchu Commissioner in next year’s local elections.

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