Citizen Congress Watch urged President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) yesterday to push legislative reform now that he is also chairman of the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT).
The legislative watchdog said in a press release that it expected Ma to allow the legislature to approve or reject the content of any cross-strait agreements signed by the Straits Exchange Foundation (SEF) and China’s Association for Relations Across the Taiwan Strait (ARATS), instead of allowing the agreements to take effect automatically.
The group was referring to Article 95 of the Act Governing Relations Between Peoples of the Taiwan Area and the Mainland Area (兩岸人民關係條例), which stipulates that a cross-strait agreement takes effect automatically 30 days after being inked if the legislature fails to reject it.
The pacts signed during the second and third rounds of talks between the SEF and ARATS last year and earlier this year all took effect automatically even though the mechanism had drawn criticism.
“The legislature should review the content of every cross-strait agreement. As the fourth round of cross-strait talks approaches, whether or not [the government] should sign an ECFA [economic cooperation framework agreement] with China has become the subject of debate,” the group said.
The Ma government said signing an ECFA with China would boost the flow of goods and personnel across the Taiwan Strait and improve the country’s ties with ASEAN nations, but the pan-green camp said Taiwan’s economic muscle and its sovereignty would be jeopardized by over-reliance on the Chinese market.
The CCW also urged Ma to lead the KMT in pushing through more “sunshine bills,” such as obliging legislators who fail to complete their terms to return the government’s election stipends given them after winning their seats.
The watchdog group urged Ma to listen to civic groups instead of insisting on pushing through party-proposed amendments or bills such as the rural revitalization act (農村再生條例) and a proposed amendment to the Assembly and Parade Act (集會遊行法).
“The KMT has undergone major changes over the past year. It occupies the majority of legislative seats and has regained executive power. However, it seems to have been going downhill since the start of the year,” the CCW said. “We hope Chairman Ma takes heed and ponders the KMT’s future.”