DPP filibuster obstructs review of cross-strait monitoring bill
Central News Agency
2014-05-27 10:15 PM
Taipei, May 27 (CNA) The Legislative Yuan failed Tuesday to bring a high-profile bill for monitoring cross-Taiwan Strait agreements to committee review due to a filibuster by opposition Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) lawmakers. The DPP lawmakers and their allies in the Taiwan Solidarity Union obstructed the plenary session in which lawmakers were supposed to decide whether or not to deliver the bill to the presiding committee for deliberation, by continuously proposing motions to change the legislative procedure. If the ruling Kuomintang (KMT) caucus insisted on putting the case to a vote, it would just lead to "voting going on and on," the DPP caucus said . Once the bill is submitted to the Internal Administration Committee, the review is expected to begin within the next few days at the earliest, which the DPP does not want to happen because before the end of the week, a KMT lawmaker will take a turn to preside over the committee. Whenever bills are put to a vote in the Legislature, there is little chance of opposition parties gaining the upper hand because the KMT controls a majority 65 seats in the 113-seat Legislative Yuan. A DPP lawmaker will not preside over the committee until the following week. While the KMT caucus blasted the DPP for holding back legislative procedure, the latter fought back, accusing the ruling party of attempting to force a vote so that it could have the dominant position in the review of the controversial bill. The cross-strait agreement monitoring act was proposed at the demand of opponents of the cross-strait trade-in-services agreement, which was signed in June 2013 but has not been implemented due to public concerns that the deal could harm small Taiwanese enterprises and impact the local job market. Anti-service trade pact activists have also demanded that lawmakers not take any action on the services agreement with China until the new law is enacted. Meanwhile, a government survey shows that 68 percent of the respondents hope for a rapid review of the monitoring act, while less than 10 percent are opposed. In spite of the wide public support for reviewing the monitoring bill as soon as possible, the opposition boycott could still keep a committee review from even beginning. (By Tai Ya-chen, Wen Kuei-hsiang, Tseng Ing-yu and Elizabeth Hsu)
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