Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) legislators were joined by collegues from across party lines yesterday in proposing changes to the Constitution as a way of resolving the nation’s constitutional-political impasse, presidential unaccountability and the lack of a communication mechanism between the ruling and opposition parties.
Among the possible amendments are altering the government structure from a quasi-presidential system to a parliamentary one, lowering the voting age to 18, and revising the legislative electoral system so small parties could have a better chance of gaining seats.
KMT Legislator Johnny Chiang (江啟臣), who called a news conference that was attended by lawmakers of four political parties, said that the string of political upheavals in recent years showed the need to amend the Constitution.
Photo: Liao Chen-huei, Taipei Times
The Legislative Yuan’s first step should be to establish a committee to oversee the proposed amendments and to put any proposals to a referendum, Chiang said.
The motion to set up the committee was proposed by eight legislators from the KMT, the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP), the Taiwan Solidarity Union and the People First Party (PFP). Another 28 lawmakers have signed the motion.
According to the Additional Articles of the ROC Constitution, the Constitution can be amended through a four-step process.
First, one-quarter of the Legislative Yuan must propose an amendment. Three-quarters of the legislators must attend a meeting to deliberate upon the amendment and then three-quarters of the attendees must approve the amendment. Finally, the amendment must be put to a referendum, which requires half of the entire electorate to vote in favor for the amendment to pass.
“There are seven Constitution-related proposals already awaiting deliberation in the legislature. They could be referred to a constitutional amendment committee by the legislative floor, and committee meetings and public hearings would then be held to develop a consensus,” Chiang said.
DPP Legislator Tsai Huang-liang (蔡煌瑯) said that at present, the president holds substantial power, but is not held accountable, while the reverse is true for the premier.
“Revisions need to be made to correspond power to responsibility, and I am rooting for a Cabinet system,” Tsai said.
“Other possible amendments include making changes to the existing five-branch political framework, transforming it into three branches of government and revising the legislative voting system to make each ballot of equal value,” he added.
PFP Legislator Thomas Lee (李桐豪) and KMT Legislator Lin Te-fu (林德福) said that there is a consensus on amending the Constitution without altering the First Article, which involves the Republic of China’s name and territories.
“Issues about unification and independence would not be discussed” during the proposed constitutional changes, Lin said.
KMT Legislator Wu Yu-sheng (吳育昇) said all the parties should not add “selfish motives and partisan calculations to the effort.”
If the public has doubts about a Cabinet system proposed by the KMT — which could be seen as an effort to prevent the DPP’s possible takeover of the presidency in 2016 — “we could propose the changes be implemented in 2020 or even 2024,” Wu said.
Most of the legislators at the news conference said they support a parliamentary form of government as opposed to the current quasi-presidential system, and lowering the voting age from 20 to 18.
Chiang said the Procedure Committee could on Tuesday place the proposal on the legislative agenda for next Friday.
‘HONORED’: The DPP’s Lin Fei-fan said friends working in the foreign media, the diplomatic corps and at think tanks congratulated him for making the sanctions list The Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) yesterday slammed China for sanctioning Representative to the US Hsiao Bi-khim (蕭美琴) and six other Taiwanese officials for being “diehard separatists,” saying its attempt to intimidate Taiwanese would backfire. China has no authority to dictate the actions of Taiwanese, because Taiwan is a democratic nation that upholds the rule of law, and would never yield to intimidation and threats from an authoritarian regime, ministry spokeswoman Joanne Ou (歐江安) told a news conference in Taipei. China’s state-run Xinhua news agency earlier yesterday reported that the Taiwan Work Office of the Chinese Communist Party Central Committee has imposed
THAI ASSISTANCE: The representative office in Thailand worked with local authorities to help trafficking victims return home, while one in the group has been charged Eight Taiwanese who were lured to Cambodia with lucrative job offers only to be forced to work illegally were brought home on Sunday night in a joint effort between Taiwanese and Thai authorities, the Criminal Investigation Bureau (CIB) said. Nine people — six men and three women aged 23 to 42 — boarded China Airlines Flight CI-836 from Bangkok, with assistance from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. They arrived at Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport at 9:55pm and were taken to the Aviation Police Bureau for questioning before entering home isolation in accordance with Taiwan’s COVID-19 regulations. The Taoyuan District Prosecutors’ Office yesterday
ORDNANCE: Under a five-year plan, the Chungshan Institute would make about 200 Hsiung Feng II and III/IIIE, and Hsiung Sheng missiles, an official said The Ministry of National Defense plans to counter the Chinese navy by producing more than 1,000 anti-ship missiles over the next five years, a defense official familiar with the matter said yesterday. The comments came after China’s People’s Liberation Army Navy began a series of military drills in a simulated naval blockade of Taiwan proper following a visit to Taipei by US House of Representatives Speaker Nancy Pelosi. Although China has in the past few years rapidly produced many warships and added them to its navy, these large vessels are more suited for warfare on the open sea than in the narrow
The organizers of WorldPride 2025 have canceled the Kaohsiung event because its licensing group, InterPride, demanded that it remove “Taiwan” from the event’s name, they said in a statement yesterday. Kaohsiung was to host WorldPride Taiwan 2025 after being granted the right by the global LGBTQ advocacy group. However, the WorldPride 2025 Taiwan Preparation Committee said that InterPride recently gave “abrupt notice” asking it to change the name of the event and use “Kaohsiung” instead of “Taiwan,” even though it applied for the event using “Taiwan” in its name. The name was initially chosen for its significance to the Taiwanese LGBTQ community, as