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September 23, 2017

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Ma not considering executive order on beef

Presdient Ma Ying-jeou is currently not considering the use of an executive order to lift the ban on the import of U.S. beef until the extraordinary session of the Legislative Yuan completes the amendment of the U.S. beef bill, the Executive Yuan spokesman Hu Yu-wei said late yesterday.

The announcement came hours after a United Evening News (UEN) report citing a high-level government source that the Cabinet was now considering the use of an executive order, fearing a possible violent confrontation with opposition party members during the extraordinary session.

Both the ruling and opposition parties remained hostile toward each other yesterday over U.S. beef, as the government was reportedly weighing the legitimacy of importing ractopamine-contained U.S. beef through an executive order.

The Ma Ying-jeou administration had been adamant about importing U.S. beef via a law passed by the Legislative Yuan, which failed to bring the measure to a vote last Friday — the last day of the current session — after the boycott by the opposition alliance made up primarily of the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP). Members of the opposition even went so far as to occupy the speaker's platform for five consecutive days to prevent the legislation from being voted on by the entire assembly, where the Kuomintang (KMT) has a majority.

According to the government source cited by the UEN, the government believed that the current legislature deadlock legitimizes the issuance of an executive order by Premier Sean Chen, who will be solely responsible for what happens after the beef importation.

Yesterday, meanwhile, the ruling and opposition parties continued their trash talk on what may happen during the extraordinary session.

"We're not afraid of going to war," said Lin Hung-chih, chief executive of the Kuomintang Policy Committee. "We won't let the opposition get its way and bury Taiwan in the process."

Ko Chien-ming, convener of the DPP legislative caucus, reiterated the party's stance yesterday that it will embrace "direct confrontation" that may arise in the extraordinary session.

As for how DPP lawmakers will confront their KMT counterparts, Ko said the caucus will discuss related details tomorrow after an inter-party negotiation on the extraordinary session taking place today, called by Legislative Yuan speaker Wang Jin-pyng.

Separately, several civic organizations have voiced their anger at the Legislature, which they said was "feckless."

"During the previous session, they passed a mere 11 bills," said the Citizen Congress Watch. "This was the second lowest in history. It is our hope that both ruling and opposition parties can use their political wisdom to raise the Legislature's efficiency and break impasses."

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