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KMT considers executive order as showdown with opposition over US beef reaches climax

Friday, June 15, 2012
By Grace Soong ,The China Post


It is 24 hours before the Legislature enters summer recess, yet the long-stalled U.S. beef-related amendment draft remains stuck, as the opposition Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) continues its filibuster and the ruling Kuomintang (KMT) fails to come up with effective measures to drive the DPP legislators away from the legislative speaker podium.

As the DPP legislators' five-day, four-night sleepover party in the legislative hall — staged to prevent voting on the amendment to the Act Governing Food Sanitation, and thus the potential import of ractopamine-containing U.S. beef — entered the fourth day, KMT legislators decided that they would not force their way into the legislative speaker podium area.

Instead of getting themselves into physical altercations, they said they will ask the Executive Yuan to announce on June 16 an executive order to process the U.S. beef issue.

Because the chances of passing the amendment draft by the end of this session look slim, the KMT caucus decided yesterday to adopt KMT Legislator Chiang Nai-shin's proposal of requesting the Executive Yuan proactively hold a press conference tomorrow and announce that the U.S. beef-related amendment draft will be processed as an executive order.

During his visit to the Legislative Yuan yesterday, KMT Secretary-General Lin Join-Sane said it is a pity that time is being wasted away like it is in the Legislature. It is because the party hopes for the U.S. beef-related amendment to properly go through the legislative process that it has been so patient; had it originally planned to pass the amendment draft with an executive order, the party would not have idled these last few days away. Even so, the KMT as a whole respects the Legislature's decision, Lin said.

Ma Shall Speak When Beef Passes

President Ma Ying-jeou will not comment on the U.S. beef topic again prior to the passing of the draft, Presidential Office spokesman Fan Chiang Tai-chi said yesterday, reiterating the president's repeatedly voiced expectation for the draft to pass.

The more stalling and procrastination on the U.S. beef import topic, the more likely it is that Taiwan-U.S. Trade and Investment Framework Agreement talks will continue to be obstructed, and the longer a possible U.S.-Taiwan free trade agreement will have to wait, Fan Chiang said.

A Pumped DPP

For the fourth consecutive day yesterday, DPP legislators slept in sleeping bags in the legislative hall, safeguarding the roped-up podium entrances and the wire-wrapped seat of Legislative Speaker Wang Jin-pyng. The most excited moment of the DPP legislators' day was when Chiu Yu-ying, a DPP legislator who has been missing out on the 120-hour filibuster due to cancer treatments, made a brief appearance at the Legislature. The group exploded in applause.

According to DPP Secretary-General Lin Shih-yao, he has already relayed to Presidential Office Secretary-General Tseng Yung-chuan Su's insistence that he will not meet Ma unless the president cancels recent controversial amendments. These include raising the price of electricity and fuel, the implementation of the stock gains tax, the importing of U.S. beef, and enforcing a personnel change at the National Communications Commission.

If the KMT were to insist on forcing the vote on U.S. beef imports through the Legislative Yuan, the DPP will seriously consider initiating a motion of no confidence, and the public will be able to pinpoint exactly which legislators had pressed the button of agreement to pass the amendment, DPP caucus whip Ker Chien-ming said.

The Ma government is not yet idiotic to the point that it would force the beef import draft through by deciding to process it with an executive order, because doing so would only result in a seemingly irreparable rift between the government and the opposition parties, Ker asserted.

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