The Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) caucus easily outvoted the opposition to push its proposed agenda, which includes the controversial cross-strait service trade agreement and the proposed free economic pilot zones, for the three-week legislative extraordinary session that started yesterday.
The Democratic Progressive Party’s (DPP) agenda, which included lowering the voting age and requiring Premier Jiang Yi-huah (江宜樺) to report to the legislature about the Taoyuan County affordable housing scandal, lost to the KMT’s majority.
The Taiwan Solidarity Union (TSU) also tried to block the KMT’s proposal, with party representatives staging a protest outside the front gates of the Legislative Yuan and lawmakers occupying the speaker’s podium before the meeting started.
Photo: Chien Jung-fong, Taipei Times
The TSU called into question the “urgency, exigency and necessity” for convening an extra legislative session, accusing the KMT of abusing the system by holding numerous special sessions since President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) took office in 2008.
Lee Cho-han (李卓翰), a TSU candidate for Taipei City councilor, who protested outside the legislature, said 10 extra sessions were convened during the 11 legislative plenary sessions over the past six years.
Inside the legislature, TSU lawmakers occupied the speaker’s podium, holding up a banner that says Ma is rushing the procedure to ensure China’s Taiwan Affairs Office Director Zhang Zhijun’s (張志軍) arrival at the end of the month. After about 20 minutes, Legislative Speaker Wang Jin-pyng (王金平) persuaded them to leave the rostrum.
Topping the list of the KMT’s agenda is vetting the president’s nominees for the Control Yuan and the Examination Yuan.
Other legislation listed for discussion include a medical dispute resolution bill, amendments to the Pharmacist’s Act (藥師法), long-term care services and farmers’ pension.
The much-disputed cross-strait service trade pact, oversight mechanism for cross-strait agreements and the free economic pilot zones were also on the KMT’s agenda.
Responding to public concern about quick passage of the controversial bills, KMT caucus whip Lin Hung-chih (林鴻池) said it would be hard to railroad the oversight bill and the service trade pact during the extra session due to time constraints.
The legislature resolved in the afternoon that the first two weeks of the three-week session would focus on the holding of public hearings and legislative review of the nominees for the Examination Yuan and the Control Yuan.
That leaves only a week for all the other issues proposed by the KMT for the course of the extra session.
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