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KMT reps bow out of trade pact review

TAIPEI, Taiwan -- With the long-awaited commencement of an article-by-article examination of the cross-strait service trade pact approaching, several Kuomintang (KMT) lawmakers have withdrawn themselves from the Internal Administration Committee, one of the main theaters in which the battle over the pact will be fought out by pan-blue and pan-green lawmakers.

The last public hearing on the pact will be held on March 10, after which an article-by-article examination is expected to begin.

President Ma Ying-jeou yesterday urged the KMT caucus to do its best to ensure the pact's passage.

So far, three of the seven KMT lawmakers on the Internal Administration Committee, Chang Ching-chung (張慶忠), Chiang Chi-chen (江啟臣) and Hsu Hsin-ying (徐欣瑩), have withdrawn for seats on other committees.

When asked if he decided to withdraw from the committee to avoid becoming “cannon fodder,” Chiang said that getting on the Economics Committee has been a long-term goal of his, and that being on the Economics Committee is more in line with his interests, area of expertise and the needs of his constituency.

The lawmaker added that he had failed to get on the Economics Committee during the past four legislative sessions.

Meanwhile, Chang said that his areas of expertise includes engineering and construction, those being the reasons behind his decision to vie for a seat on the Transportation Committee.

Chang added, however, that the “Internal Administration Committee has too many problems,” adding that one of the factors behind his decision is the less complicated nature of the Transportation Committee.

As for the remaining KMT members on the committee, Legislator Chi Kuo-tung (紀國棟) has already announced his intention to secure the ruling party's nomination for the Taichung mayoral election, while Legislator Wu Yu-sheng (吳育昇) said that he has already served as convener of the Internal Administration Committee, and that he is willing to see other members take up the post.

When asked if he will mobilize his caucus' strength to persuade some of his more influential colleagues to serve on the Internal Administration Committee, KMT lawmaker Lin Hung-chih (林鴻池), who also serves as executive director of the ruling party's Policy Committee, said that each lawmaker has his or her own considerations as well as areas of expertise, adding that it may not be appropriate to allocate duties in a forceful manner.

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