Legislative Speaker Wang Jin-pyng (王金平) yesterday called a meeting of party caucus whips to discuss how to address a perceived flaw in the statutory mechanism for cross-party negotiation in the legislature that has been vulnerable to horse-trading and backroom deals.
Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) caucus whip Lin Hung-chih (林鴻池) has initiated a proposal to reform the cross-party negotiation mechanism, a phase of legislation prescribed under the Act Governing the Legislative Yuan’s Power (立法院職權行使法).
Lin’s proposal came after Wang and Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) caucus whip Ker Chien-ming (柯建銘) were accused of being involved in an undue influence case that surfaced on Sept. 6.
“Problems have emerged in the negotiation system that need to be addressed,” Lin said.
According to the rules, a bill which lawmakers do not agree on during a preliminary review by a legislative committee can only be put to a vote on the floor on second reading after the conclusion of a negotiation period. Although the law stipulates that this be capped at a month, it usually takes longer.
Some see the KMT’s proposal as a move to weaken Wang’s role in the legislature after it failed to remove him from the position of speaker as President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九), who also doubles as KMT chairman, reportedly wanted.
Although cross-party negotiation is not very opaque because it is open to every lawmaker, legislative assistant and sometimes officials, the DPP supports having audio and video recordings of cross-party negotiation meetings, Ker said.
Wang said it is an opportunity for lawmakers to review rules of procedures. However, he added that he was worried that the KMT’s proposal could compromise efficiency because putting a bill on which lawmakers remain strongly divided to a vote can complicate the situation more than having lawmakers iron out differences through negotiation first.