Legislature decides to set up constitutional amendment committee

09/14/2020 11:00 PM
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CNA file photo
CNA file photo

Taipei, Sept. 14 (CNA) Taiwan's Legislature decided Monday to set up an ad hoc committee tasked with revising the Constitution of the Republic of China (Taiwan), based on a consensus reached by ruling and opposition parties.

Under the Legislature's rules, the committee is a necessary part of the review process for constitutional amendments.

The committee will consist of 22 lawmakers of the ruling Democratic Progressive Party, 14 lawmakers of the Kuomintang, two of the Taiwan People's Party, and one of the New Power Party, based on their proportion of seats in the lawmaking body.

Legislative Speaker You Si-kun (游錫堃) announced the decision after hosting interparty talks on issues related to amending the Constitution and the Additional Articles of the Constitution.

There were 11 draft constitutional amendments proposed in the most recent legislative session that passed the first threshold of receiving the backing of at least one-fourth of the 113 lawmakers and could be reviewed under the new committee structure.

Among the issues touched on by the proposals are measures to lower the voting age from 20 to 18 and abolish the Control Yuan and the Examination Yuan.

Amending the Constitution is difficult in Taiwan because constitutional revisions must first be approved by at least three-quarters of the lawmakers present at a meeting of the Legislature attended by a minimum of three-quarters of all lawmakers.

If that threshold is met, the proposals are then decided on by the people through a public referendum.

Before any of that can happen, a proposal endorsed by a quarter of all lawmakers must first be put on the legislative agenda by the Procedure Committee, then delivered to the Constitutional Amendment Committee, once it is set up, for preliminary review.

Without the committee's approval, the amendment cannot be taken to a full session of the Legislature for the second and third reading, according to the Legislative Yuan.

According to the new committee's rules, a meeting must be attended by at least one-third of the total committee members, and a resolution can only be made with the consent of at least half of the committee members who show up.

You has expressed support for the idea that a constitutional amendment referendum be held in conjunction with local government elections in 2022.

To achieve that goal, the Legislative Yuan has to approve bills by March 29, 2022, according to a timeline drawn up by the Legislature.

The Legislative Yuan is currently in recess and is set to reopen on Sept. 18.

(By Fang Cheng-hsiang and Elizabeth Hsu)

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