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Legislature should discuss issue of adding seats: Wang Jin-pyng

TAIPEI, Taiwan -- Legislative Yuan Speaker Wang Jin-pyng (王金平) yesterday commented on the issue of whether or not the Legislative Yuan should increase the amount of seats for lawmakers, saying that his position remains the same as few years ago and he thinks the issue should open for discussion.

Wang's remark came after Democratic Progressive Party's (DPP) newly elected chairwoman Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) on Monday morning said that she will lead her party to work on constitutional reforms, noting that more seats in the Legislature are needed in order to ensure that the people are adequately represented. Tsai said that the number of seats for the legislators at large should especially be increased to raise the “quality” of the Legislature.

Before the Yuan Sitting was held yesterday morning, Wang said it was inappropriate for him to comment on the issue at that moment noting, however, that he held the same opinion as former lawmaker Shen Fu-hsiung (沈富雄) — who was previously a DPP member — during the seventh constitutional reform in 2005.

Back in 2005, Wang had said publicly that he was afraid that the number of lawmakers would be too few should the size of Legislature be cut in half. Whether it is appropriate for a few lawmakers to hold the power to make decisions on major bills is debatable, Wang said.

Former DPP lawmakers Shen and Lin Cho-shui (林濁水) in 2005 both expressed that reducing the number of lawmakers might cause “situations” in the Legislature in the future.

Wang yesterday said that the number of seats in the Legislative Yuan was a heated issue during the Republic of China's seventh constitutional reform. The size of the Legislative Yuan was cut from 225 seats to 113 seats based on public opinions in 2005, he said.

Wang went on to say that an open discussion on the matter is needed, explaining that it will be easier to amend the Constitution only when the public reaches a consensus. It is difficult to amend the Constitution at the moment, Wang added.

Kuomintang (KMT) lawmaker Wang Ting-son (王廷升) yesterday argued that the DPP is being fickle on the issue. Wang said it was a cross-caucus consensus to cut the number of lawmakers in 2005.

Wang said constitutional reform is a huge “project” and it should be handled in a serious manner. He said it is irresponsible to the public should the DPP change its position on the issue just because it changes its leader.

In 2005, the now defunct National Assembly cut the size of the Legislature in half and changed electoral districts from being represented by multiple lawmakers to being represented by a single lawmaker.

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