Opposition blocks recall amendment
DPP threatens to push for 287 votes
Taiwan News, Staff Writer
2014-05-13 02:41 PM
TAIPEI (Taiwan News) – Opposition lawmakers occupied the podium at the Legislative Yuan Tuesday, blocking passage of a Kuomintang proposal to make the recall of legislators more difficult.

The agenda featured an amendment to the Election and Recall Act proposed by KMT lawmaker Wu Yu-sheng which in future would require signatories to a recall petition to provide a copy of their identity card and a signature to a release form. Under existing rules, the person who proposes the recall has to write his full name, ID number and basic data, and provide an explanation of why an elected politician should be recalled, but signatories to the petition only have to write down their name, ID number and address.

Early Tuesday before the official start of the session, lawmakers from the Taiwan Solidarity Union occupied the podium. They put up placards reading “Put people’s rights into practice, oppose the higher thresholds for recalls” and “If you regard public opinion as if it were air, then just be an emperor,” a reference to President Ma Ying-jeou.

Wu is one of several KMT lawmakers who have been targeted for recall action by the opposition and by social movements because of their close ties to the president. The critics have accused Wu and some of his colleagues of putting Ma’s opinions before the opinions of the voters they are supposed to represent.

After the TSU began its action, lawmakers from the Democratic Progressive Party also joined in. Both the KMT and the DPP had mobilized all their members to be present and vote when the time came. Even though the KMT enjoys a comfortable majority with 65 seats out of 112, occupations of the podium often derail its plans.

The DPP said that if the KMT pushed the project through, it would force votes on no fewer than 287 items, in effect paralyzing legislative work. If one minute were needed for each vote, not all of the items would be handled before the end of the day, the main opposition party said. DPP legislator Chen Chi-mai said KMT lawmakers should not push through a measure merely for the sake of self-preservation and instead focus on real issues at hand.

The ruling party said the measure had to pass through, but the TSU promised it would fight to the finish, accusing the KMT of being about to provoke a second wave of massive public anger. Students occupied the Legislative Yuan from March 18 to April 10 in a reaction to a KMT move to terminate the review of the contested trade-in-services pact with China in less than a minute.

TSU lawmakers said they were protecting Taiwan’s democracy and basic democratic rights and would oppose the KMT’s attempts to use majority violence to turn back the clock.

Wu argued that his amendment would prevent fraud and benefit lawmakers from both parties facing recall.

Other items on Tuesday’s legislative agenda were several versions of the proposed framework law to monitor negotiations with China, an item which was one of the basic demands of the student occupiers.

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