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Ma calls for restraint from opposition in Legislature

TAIPEI -- President Ma Ying-jeou urged the opposition parties Tuesday to respect “majority rule,” which he described as the democratic spirit, asking them to refrain from occupying the podium of the Legislature to paralyze procedure.

“Letting the Legislature sit idle can do nothing but drag Taiwan down,” Ma said in a speech at China Medical University in Taichung.

The speech marked the half-way point of Ma's second four-year presidential term. He first assumed the presidency May 20, 2008.

Ma was referring to opposition lawmakers' frequent moves to block legislation of major yet controversial bills in the Legislative Yuan over the past year, including the trade-in services agreements with China, a cross-Taiwan Strait agreement monitoring act, and an act governing free economic pilot zones.

The ruling Kuomintang, which Ma chairs, controls 65 of the 113 seats in the Legislative Yuan, while the main opposition Democratic Progressive Party holds 40 seats.

“Taiwan must face head-on free trade as it heads toward global integration,” Ma said, calling for cross-party lawmakers' support for the bills to pass through the Legislature as soon as possible so that Taiwan can move further toward regional integration.

“Let Taiwan become a real island of free trade. It's the genuine way of loving Taiwan,” he said.

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