Legislature goes into recess with bills in limbo

The China Post staff

Another session of the Legislative Yuan ended yesterday, leaving several crucial bills in limbo, which will have to wait until September, when lawmakers return from their summer recess. Legislators spent the whole of yesterday trying to reconcile differences over easing criteria for the recipients of the NT$3,000 monthly allowance for elderly people. They failed to iron work out variations in five proposed versions of the bill. Other important bills were stalled as a result. Other disagreements arose over the NT$31.6 billion budget for dredging and taming the Keelung River and the budget for state enterprises. Instead of working overtime on the final day of each session until the next morning in order to rush through as many bills as possible, President Wang Jin-pyng of the Legislature called it quits at 5 p.m. Other important bills that failed to clear the floor of the Legislative Yuan include those easing the restrictions on the transplants of body organs, updating the criminal lawsuit rules, clear defining the incriminating of vote buying in elections, retirement of government employees working in the postal and telecom service sectors, and updating rules governing the National Health Insurance Law. All these bills will be reviewed by lawmakers when they meet again in September, unless provisional meetings are called. President Chen has recently lamented over the slow pace of the legislative branch when completing revisions of many sets of regulations. Lawmakers of the ruling Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) and the alliance of the opposition Kuomintang (KMT) and the People First Party (PFP) blamed each other for the slow pace. The KMT and the PFP joined hands to outvote the ruling coalition to push several other bills that will go forward to a first reading by various committees. They include the constitutional amendment requiring an absolute majority victory in the elections of president and vice president. A second round of voting should be held if none of the candidates win over 50 percent of ballots in the first round. This will prevent the election of a president who has support from less than half of the eligible voters. Please see BILLS on page

Many attribute the current instability in Taiwan to the fact that the incumbent president took only 39 percent of the popular vote. The other bill the KMT and the PFP want to push is the mandatory disclosure of the ages of airplanes by airlines.

They also want to relax rules governing relations between people in Taiwan and mainland China.

KMT Secretary General Lin Feng-cheng said that if President Chen sees the need to hold provisional meetings by the legislators in order to finish the reviewing of some budget programs or other bills, the KMT will be happy to oblige. Leaders of the legislative caucuses are expected to hold consultations soon to decide if it is necessary to hold temporary meetings to push through more bills before a new session begins in September. Past records show lawmakers can ratify as many as a dozen bills in one day if they want to.