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September 23, 2017

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Ma distressed over failed beef vote

The Legislative Yuan failed to vote on the so-called beef amendments before its formal recess at 6 p.m. yesterday. President Ma Ying-jeou supports starting an emergency legislative session immediately, said presidential spokesman Fan Chiang Tai-chi (范姜泰基) yesterday.

The president is "regretful and distressed" that opposition lawmakers have paralyzed the Legislative Yuan, said Fan Chiang.

Ma supports convening an emergency session of the Legislative Yuan as soon as possible, Fan Chiang continued.

The Kuomintang (KMT) legislative caucus said late yesterday that it will initiate a motion for convening an emergency legislative session next week.

No Executive Order

For months, Ma has actively lobbied for legislators to pass amendments to the Act Governing Food Sanitation (食品衛生管理法) that would open Taiwan's borders to U.S. beef containing ractopamine.

But the Executive Yuan is not considering the use of executive order to force open borders to beef, said Executive Yuan spokesman Hu Yu-wei (胡幼偉) yesterday.

Earlier, Premier Sean Chen had told reporters that an executive order is a legal option, but that revising law through the Legislature is the "most safe way" to resolve the impasse.

'Severe condemnation': Speaker

The amendments have faced tremendous opposition from the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) and minor parties, who on Monday launched a 120-hour filibuster to prevent a plenary vote on the amendments.

Legislative Speaker Wang Jin-pyng (王金平) said that he has "severe condemnation" for DPP lawmakers.

"Since June 8, DPP legislators have occupied the speaker's rostrum, obstructing the normal operations of the Legislative Yuan. The Legislative Yuan has been unable to deal with a number of important laws, and for that I issue the most severe condemnation," he said.

The opposition party should use "rational discourse instead of the overbearing filibuster," and "policy debate instead of antagonistic confrontation," he said.

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