With its majority in the legislature, the pan-blue camp yesterday won a couple of triumphs, advancing bills which the pan-green camp claimed were designed to benefit the pan-blues' electoral outlook in the lead up to the year-end legislative elections and the presidential election next year.
The pan-blue camp proposed amendments to the Farmers' Association Law (農會法) and Fishers' Association Law (漁會法), which both cleared the legislature yesterday.
The revised amendments canceled the three-term limits for secretary-generals with the associations and lowered requirements for them to renew their employment.
They also stipulated that association staff standing trial would not be relieved of their posts until a final verdict was delivered in their cases.
Currently, indicted staffers from the associations are fired from posts following conviction in their second trials for a crime.
"The changes are an attempt by the pan-blue camp to consolidate their relationships with the associations," said Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Legislator Wu Ming-ming (吳明敏).
Wu, who has taught agriculture in colleges for 30 years, said that he was sad that the welfare of farmers and fishermen had been "sacrificed" to party interests.
With the amendments, about 95 percent of current secretary-generals, whose loyalties traditionally lie with the KMT, will be able to dominate the organizations indefinitely despite the fact that many of them have criminal backgrounds, Wu told a press conference.
According to Wu, 24 executives or staffers in the associations across the nation were convicted of crimes such as corruption, drug trafficking, bribery and violence at their first trials as of this month.
Brawling broke out when the two bills were reviewed on the floor, with KMT Legislator Chang Sho-wen (張碩文) throwing his lunchbox at Taiwan Solidarity Union Legislator Yin Ling-ying (尹伶瑛).
Chang's sister is a secretary-general of a farmers' association and Yin claimed that Chang should not have voted on the bills due to a conflict of interests.
Meanwhile, the pan-blue camp yesterday also triumphed in a vote on amending the Audit Law (審計法) which is aimed at clearing embezzlement allegations against KMT presidential candidate Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九), to a second reading.
Ma was indicted on corruption charges after he allegedly wired half of his monthly special allowance fund directly into a personal account during his term as Taipei mayor from 1998 to last year.
The amendment says that all special allowances claimed by officials by the end of last year should be seen as "substantial subsidies" so decriminalizing the case.
Also yesterday, an amendment to the President and Vice President Election and Recall Law (
"This is the darkest day in the history of the legislature," DPP caucus whip Ker Chien-ming (柯建銘) told a press conference yesterday.
"What we saw today at the legislature was the KMT's refusal to review the budget bill and its sole focus on Ma's presidential bid," he said.
Additional reporting by Flora Wang
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