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Legislative Yuan resumes work, MAC talks renegotiation
Taiwan News, Staff Writer
2014-04-11 03:06 PM
TAIPEI (Taiwan News) – On its first day after 24 days of occupation by students, the Legislative Yuan spent only seven minutes referring proposals for closer monitoring of talks with China and the nomination of a new prosecutor-general to committees Friday.

The students who first entered the Legislative Yuan on March 18 to protest against the trade-in-services pact with China left Thursday evening to the acclaim of more than 22,000 peaceful supporters, but a small radical group refused to leave the area and was dispersed Friday morning.

One of the key demands of the occupiers was the passage of a framework law including closer supervision of cross-straits negotiations and agreements before the Legislative Yuan turns to deal with the trade pact again. Legislative Speaker Wang Jin-pyng’s promise to do so during a visit to the students on April 6 was seen as the turning-point which persuaded the activists to end their occupation.

During a full plenary session chaired by Wang Friday morning, ruling camp and opposition at the Legislature agreed to refer seven versions of a framework proposal to the Internal Administration Committee. The list included separate versions sponsored by the Cabinet and by main opposition Democratic Progressive Party lawmaker Yu Mei-nu.

The second topic treated by the plenary session was the nomination of Yen Da-ho as state prosecutor-general, which has to win the approval of legislators in a vote. The Judicial and Organic Laws and Statutes Committee will have to discuss the issue.

After the seven-minute session, Wang expresses his gratitude to the public and called for less conflict and more tolerance. He repeated a statement that taxpayers’ funds would not be used to repair damage at the Legislative Yuan. Discussions would continue whether or not the Legislature should take legal action against the occupiers to compensate for the damage, he said.

Mainland Affairs Council Minister Wang Yu-chi told a radio interview that if the trade pact was eventually amended by lawmakers, the only solutions were to drop the accord or to renegotiate it. China has kept a low profile by not commenting so far on whether renegotiation was possible, Wang said. The administration of President Ma Ying-jeou previously insisted that renegotiation was not an option and that the Legislature had to approve the trade pact as it stood.

DPP spokesman Chang Chun-han said that if the MAC minister was prepared to renegotiate the trade pact, then the opposition party was happy to oblige. The DPP has been advocating a tighter monitoring mechanism since 2008 as well as a thorough review of the trade pact, he said. An eventual renegotiation was a demand of the student occupiers and of majority public opinion, according to Chang.

If the Ma Administration had followed those ideas from the start and allowed open and timely discussions of the trade agreement, the Sunflower Movement’s occupation of the Legislative Yuan would never have happened, the DPP spokesman said.

The government needed to protect common values and balance different interests, Chang said, adding that the president, who also serves as KMT chairman, should relax his grip on the ruling party’s legislative caucus and allow its members to represent public opinion.

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