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KMT shoots down protesters' condition for ending occupation

2014/03/27 16:06:27

KMT caucus whip Lin Hung-chih, March 21.

Taipei, March 27 (CNA) A student leader of the occupation movement that has shut down the nation's parliament since March 18 in protest over a service trade agreement with China pointed Thursday to a way to end the standoff but the proposal was rejected by ruling party lawmakers.

In a press conference held inside the main chamber of the Legislative Yuan, Lin Fei-fan said that as soon as all ruling and opposition party legislators submit written pledges, the protesters will prepare to evacuate the premises.

The document, drafted by the students, would commit lawmakers to the early passage of a new law aimed at institutionalizing a close scrutiny of all agreements with China.

It would also prevent any action on the controversial service trade pact until the new legislation has been enacted.

However, it remained to be seen how many of the 113 members of the Legislative Yuan would be willing to make such a pledge.

Lin Hung-chih, a KMT whip, said he and other members of the KMT caucus would not consider signing the pledge as the students keep coming up with new demands. The KMT holds 65 seats in the legislature.

The main opposition Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) has lent its support to the unprecedented occupation movement, while a few ruling Kuomintang (KMT) lawmakers have spoken out against the the protesters.

According to Lin Fei-fan, the DPP caucus and lawmakers of the minority opposition Taiwan Solidarity Union (TSU) had already turned in their signed documents.

He called for individual DPP and KMT lawmakers to follow suit, describing it as the only way to realize the ideals of a true representative democracy.

"As soon as this box is full (of signed copies of the pledge), we can buy our tickets and go home," he added.

At the press conference, another student leader put a roadblock before a proposed dialogue with President Ma Ying-jeou aimed at ending the student-led occupation.

Until Ma, who doubles as KMT chairman, promises to loosen party discipline, "negotiations will be halted and there will be no dialogue," said Chen Wei-ting.

He was referring to the student leadership's latest demand that KMT lawmakers who do not toe the party line on the dispute should not be subjected to party disciplinary measures.

The student leaders laid out their position as lawmakers failed in their latest round of consultations to iron out their differences over how to handle the trade pact in the Legislative Yuan. Taiwan signed the agreement with China in June 2013 but its legislative review process has been stalled.

(By Tai Ya-chen and John Scot Feng)