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Several legislative reform amendments pass 2nd reading

05/21/2024 10:22 PM
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Legislators of all three parties engage in voting and disputes inside Taiwan's legislatures on Tuesday. CNA photo May 21, 2024
Legislators of all three parties engage in voting and disputes inside Taiwan's legislatures on Tuesday. CNA photo May 21, 2024

Taipei, May 21 (CNA) The Legislative Yuan on Tuesday completed the second reading of amendments to the "Law Governing the Legislative Yuan's Power," regarding how "government personnel" answer lawmakers' questions and how people are nominated into key government positions.

As a result, the amendments moved within one step of clearing the Legislature and becoming law.

The readings were completed before 6 p.m. during Tuesday's floor reading, which picked up where last Friday's session left off. It was expected the floor reading would be extended until midnight to allow more time for voting on other legislative reform bills.

The bills voted on as of Tuesday evening include an amendment to Article 25 of the Law Governing the Legislative Yuan's Power, which pertains to how lawmakers' questions must be answered.

The amendment aims to place tighter restrictions on those questioned in the Legislature, stating that they cannot "reverse-question," without defining the term.

The amendment also added that those undergoing questioning during an interpellation session "are not allowed to refuse to answer, nor refuse to provide or conceal information, give false answers, or engage in other actions that amount to contempt of the Legislature."

Those who engage in such actions face a fine of between NT$20,000 (US$619) and NT$200,000, if a discipline proposal is presented and endorsed by at least five lawmakers present at the session and subsequently approved in a plenary sitting.

The fine can be repeatedly imposed, and those disciplined will be able to file objections with the administrative court.

"Government personnel" could, with the approval of lawmakers and the floor, also face impeachment or other disciplinary sanctions.

Making false statements could result in being held criminally liable, according to the amendment.

Another round of amendments was also made to articles of the same law concerning how nominations for key positions in the Judicial Yuan, the Control Yuan, the Examination Yuan, and certain independent agencies are approved.

The amendments stipulate that an "open ballot" is required -- with votes publicly recorded -- in contrast to the current regulation which employs a secret ballot.

The review period following the list of candidates nominated will also be no less than one month and public hearings will be required, according to the amendments.

Nominated candidates will have to submit a written oath when submitting background information or answering questions at the Legislative Yuan, stating that the information they provided is true and "no concealing, decoration, addition, or reduction" was made.

Those failing to abide by this rule face a fine between NT$20,000 and NT$200,000. However, anyone wishing to raise objections will be able to file litigation with the administrative court, according to the amendments.

(By Alison Hsiao)

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