Citizen Congress Watch yesterday called on all 335 legislative candidates to back reform proposals and pledge to refuse to abuse government funds to benefit assistants or their office.
All parties attended an event hosted by the legislative watchdog except the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT).
The group said it would announce who signed the pledges by the middle of next month.
Photo: Wang Yi-sung, Taipei Times
Citizen Congress Watch chairman Tseng Chien-yuan (曾建元) told a news conference that there has been a spike in legislators failing to recuse themselves from conflicts of interests.
Group executive director Leo Chang (張宏林) said that incidents involving conflicts of interest have greatly affected the public’s confidence in the legislature, adding that Citizen Congress Watch hopes candidates would sign the pledge and uphold it if elected.
Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Legislator Fan Yun (范雲), seeking to secure another term as a legislator-at-large, said the legislature always has room for improvement, even though Citizen Congress Watch considers DPP lawmakers to have excellent performance records, while the Legislative Yuan has earned international approval for transparency.
New Power Party (NPP) legislator-at-large candidate Wang Pao-hsuan (王寶萱) said that NPP legislators have all been considered “excellent” by the group and would continue to promote a more transparent legislature.
The party would continue to watch for issues that could pose conflicts of interest for its legislators, Wang added.
Taiwan Statebuilding Party legislator-at-large candidate Shih Wei-chu (史惟筑) said her party was glad to see Citizen Congress Watch’s proposed list of pledges, but added that more emphasis should be given to addressing Chinese infiltration efforts.
The party proposed two additional pledges: that candidates with significant investments in China be considered ineligible to run and that candidates be screened for national security reasons, Shih said.
Her comments referred to the KMT and the DPP nominating Chinese immigrants for their legislator-at-large lists.
Former People First Party legislator Chen Yi-chieh (陳怡潔) said the party had worked on legislative reform efforts before, and if it wins enough seats to form a caucus, it would work closely with Citizen Congress Watch.
While the People First Party agreed with most of the political watchdog’s pledges, legislators are elected representatives of the public, Chen said, adding that the group’s call for regulating the “commitment” of legislators should be further discussed.
Citizen Congress Watch called for legislative candidates to promise to not abuse their office, sign a nondisclosure agreement to not reveal national security secrets discussed during hearings, and draft laws that would ensure their full-time commitment as legislators — preventing them from holding positions at for-profit businesses during their time in office — and to be transparent about their positions.
It also called on candidates to be disciplined, uphold legislative transparency, publicize reports on foreign inspections, observe due process in the confirmations of officials, be timely on national spending reviews, and draft legislation granting the legislature powers of investigation and to hold hearings.
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