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June 28, 2017

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DPP lawmakers agree to support cross-strait pact supervisory law

TAIPEI, Taiwan -- Student protesters occupying the Legislature yesterday submitted a request to ruling and opposition party lawmakers asking them to establish a supervisory law regarding cross-strait agreements before passing the recent trade in services pact.

In the press conference held on Tuesday, student leaders Lin Fei-fan (林飛帆) and Chen Wei-ting (陳為廷) explained that they are calling for all legislators to support the establishment of such a law. The students had designed a board printed with the photos of all lawmakers, inviting the lawmakers to sign beneath their names to show support, they are welcome to write down their suggestions as well.

The undertaking was drafted as the students were worried that the signatures on the board may not signify anything promising; supportive lawmakers were asked to sign the official request first to show their approval. The document once again reiterated the students' three demands: the legislators should push for the passage of the supervisory law; the law should be passed before the pact is deliberated, and that the Legislature's Procedure Committee was not to boycott the proposals related to the law.

The student activists had also discussed and proposed the possibility of having the pact integrated into national elections for the people to vote upon, and also to push for an impeachment if needed.

Blues and Greens Still Divided

After the requests were delivered, Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) caucus whip Wu Ping-jui (吳秉叡) turned in the signed requests of three top caucus officials, saying that all of the DPP's 40 lawmakers agreed to the students' requirements.

Kuomintang (KMT) Legislator Liao Cheng-ching (廖正井) stated yesterday morning that he had not yet received the request but he would be acting according to the caucus regulations. "All of us will act together," said Liao. Fellow KMT lawmaker Chen Shu-huey (陳淑慧) remarked that there was no point in passing the law after the agreement was already signed and sealed; the pact should be passed first and the law put into use for future agreements, she said.

The People First Party caucus had initially supported the proposal of the oversight law when it was still in operation last year. It has been reported that their commitment is still in force.

Students' Change of Course

After agreeing to President Ma Ying-jeou's proposal of a meeting between himself and a student representative without conditions, the students later issued an altered statement shortly after Tuesday's cross-caucus negotiation failed to reach a consensus on handling current protest-relevant issues.

Chen and Lin called Ma, saying that he should discontinue the pressure over his party lawmakers to boycott the passage of the supervisory law; if Ma does not make a promise regarding his "abuse" of the party regulations, the students will decline the invitation temporarily.

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