Focus Taiwan App
Download

Legislative reforms will strengthen Taiwan's democracy: Ko Wen-je

05/28/2024 10:10 PM
To activate the text-to-speech service, please first agree to the privacy policy below.
Taiwan People's Party Chairman Ko Wen-je. CNA file photo
Taiwan People's Party Chairman Ko Wen-je. CNA file photo

Taipei, May 28 (CNA) A package of opposition-backed bills to expand the powers of Taiwan's Legislature will strengthen the country's democracy, Taiwan People's Party (TPP) Chairman Ko Wen-je (柯文哲) said Tuesday.

Ko made the comments in a Facebook post as the Legislature held third readings of the amendments, which include expanding the body's investigative powers, adding a "contempt of the Legislature" offense to the Criminal Code, and a provision whereby the president will be "invited" by lawmakers to give an annual state of the nation address.

The bills have been jointly pushed by the Kuomintang (KMT) and Ko's smaller TPP, in the face of fierce opposition from the ruling Democratic Progressive Party (DPP).

● Taiwan lawmakers have passed contentious reform bills. Now what?

Update: Cabinet to have Legislature reconsider 'unconstitutional' amendments (June 6)

In the post, Ko said he "never imagined" the DPP would try to block the reforms, many of which it supported during its time in opposition.

Contrary to the DPP's use of the slogan "no discussion, no democracy," the question of reforming the Legislature has been under discussion "for 30 years," Ko said.

Under Taiwan's five-branches of government, the Legislature has never received suitable authority, leaving lawmakers unable to effectively supervise or investigate other parts of the government, he said.

The Taiwan People's Party lawmakers hold a press briefing in the Legislative Yuan in Taipei Tuesday. CNA photo May 28, 2024
The Taiwan People's Party lawmakers hold a press briefing in the Legislative Yuan in Taipei Tuesday. CNA photo May 28, 2024

Ko argued that during its last eight years in power, the DPP had turned the Legislature into a "rubber stamp" for the government, citing the party's 2019 passage of a bill to hold referendums separately from elections, which critics argue made it more difficult for referendums to pass.

The DPP-led Legislature also failed to investigate other government controversies, such as a much-criticized 2023 egg import scheme, and in any case would not have had sufficient powers to do so, he added.

Ko also rejected the DPP's claims that the parliamentary reform bills had not been adequately discussed.

Since April 1, the draft amendments have been discussed in two Legislative committee meetings, three public hearings, and in cross-party negotiations. The current version of the bills was only advanced after efforts to reach a consensus failed, he said.

Even after they were taken up by the full Legislature, the amendments were read out and voted on individually, in a way that "fully adheres" to Taiwan's democratic processes, Ko said.

"The only difference is that these reform bills aren't being pushed by the DPP, which is why it has been so eager to negate them," Ko said.

A protester puts a red dot on a board with profile photos of Taiwan People's Party lawmakers during a protest outside the Legislative Yuan in Taipei Tuesday. CNA photo May 28, 2024
A protester puts a red dot on a board with profile photos of Taiwan People's Party lawmakers during a protest outside the Legislative Yuan in Taipei Tuesday. CNA photo May 28, 2024

Ko said the passage of the reforms, after "30 long years" and in a Legislature in which no single party holds a majority, would "leave its mark on history."

"From today, Taiwan will have a more robust system of government," Ko said, adding that he was thankful to all those who had supported the bills, which constitute "a milestone in the history of Taiwan's democracy."

(By Chen Chun-hua and Matthew Mazzetta)

Enditem/AW

Related News

May 28

● Third reading of major part of 'legislative reform' bills passed

● Legislative reforms will strengthen Taiwan's democracy: Ko Wen-je

● Rallies against legislative reform bills held around Taiwan

May 27: DPP may seek constitutional interpretation on legislative reform bills

May 26: KMT lawmaker calls for Lai to hold cross-party talks on controversial bills

May 24

● Revisions boosting Legislature's investigative powers pass 2nd reading

● Amendments to give Legislature right to hold hearings pass 2nd reading

● Protesters, supporters of reform bills gather outside Legislature

● Ruling, opposition parties continue to fight over reform bill review

May 22: Amendments on Legislature investigative rights pass 2nd reading

May 21: Protesters call for transparency regarding 'legislative reform bills'

May 18: Amid chaos, bills on president's report to Legislature closer to passage

May 17: Legislature in chaos over legislative reform bills

    0:00
    /
    0:00
    We value your privacy.
    Focus Taiwan (CNA) uses tracking technologies to provide better reading experiences, but it also respects readers' privacy. Click here to find out more about Focus Taiwan's privacy policy. When you close this window, it means you agree with this policy.
    172.30.142.10