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December, 4, 2016

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Tsai should use weekly meetings to regroup

TAIPEI, Taiwan -- President Tsai Ing-wen's weekly policy coordination meeting, which she began holding at the beginning of October, lasts into the evening hours each Monday. The meeting has been widely regarded as an attempt by the Tsai administration to shore up support for the overnment, as well to make policy-making more efficient.

Whether the meetings have been successful is difficult to say.

The meetings themselves were strongly criticized by opposition Kuomintang (KMT) lawmakers as "unconstitutional." The lawmakers alleged that because Tsai hosted the meetings and led discussions among administrative heads about policy-making, it has eroded Premier Lin Chuan's authority as the central government's head.

While those claims were refuted by Lin, it poses a worryingly precedent.

This was evident at the end of the first coordination meeting, when Tsai gave the green light for the controversial workweek bill, instructing the government to step up policy promotion efforts and the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) caucus to speed up legislature passage by the end of this legislative session.

That approval has been regarded as the government's "forcibleness" to legalize an unpopular bill, stripping the legislature of a formal, detailed lawmaking process due to DPP lawmakers working to fulfill the president's instructions, rather than representing public opinion.

Lack of Awareness

In the past week, the meeting's efficiency has also proven to be questionable. Last Monday, Tsai and government and legislature heads convened to discuss the management of government donations for foundations and local land development projects, just as the ensuring drama surrounding TransAsia Airways' sudden announcement to halt flights began.

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