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KMT caucus discussing parliamentary reform bills

02/25/2024 09:09 PM
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The Kuomintang caucus. CNA file photo
The Kuomintang caucus. CNA file photo

Taipei, Feb. 25 (CNA) Opposition Kuomintang lawmakers on Sunday unveiled 32 pieces of legislation that they are hoping to put forward as priorities in the current legislative session, including six bills related to parliamentary reform.

One of the parliamentary reform bills will seek to regularize the annual State of the Nation Address by the president, while another will reexamine the Legislature's role in the appointment of government personnel nominated by the country's president.

Regarding the functions of the Legislature, the KMT caucus said it will introduce a bill that would allow election of the legislative speaker and deputy speaker by means of an open vote, rather than a secret vote, as is the current practice.

The opposition party caucus said it also wants to legalize the Legislature's right to hold public hearings. Those would include hearings that question government ministers and heads of Cabinet-level agencies and commissions, the caucus said.

Furthermore, the KMT caucus said, it will introduce a priority bill to make contempt of the parliament a legal offense.

In other areas, the KMT legislative caucus said, it will draft a bill to give protection to whistleblowers, thus helping to combat illegal actions between government agencies and private enterprises.

The caucus is also planning to put forth a bill on reproductive rights, which would make artificial reproductive technology more easily available to women, including lesbian couples.

In other priority areas, the caucus said, it plans to introduce a bill to allow people to vote in the areas where they work or study. Currently, people in Taiwan can only vote in the area where their household is registered.

A revision to that law will help to expand voter participation and turnout in elections and referendums, according to the KMT caucus.

The proposals unveiled Sunday were complied by a KMT think tank and are still under discussion in a closed meeting of the KMT legislative caucus, which is being held Feb. 24-26 in Hualien, KMT Chairman Eric Chu (朱立倫) said, adding that the proposals will be adopted if a consensus is reached.

The think tank has also proposed amending the Court Organization Act to create a special investigation unit under the Supreme Prosecutors' Office to tackle major crimes, including corruption among top-level government officials, Chu said.

In the Jan. 13 legislative election, the KMT won 52 seats in the 113-member Legislature, one more than the ruling Democratic Progressive Party, while the smaller opposition Taiwan People's Party secured eight.

The current legislative session opened Feb. 20.

(By Wang Cheng-chung and Evelyn Kao)

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