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September 20, 2017

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DPP to form constitutional reform committee

TAIPEI, Taiwan -- Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) caucus whip Ker Chien-ming (柯建銘) yesterday announced that he would be forming a group of politicians to push for constitutional reform.

The DPP caucus convener made the remarks several weeks after former DPP Chairman Su Tseng-chang (蘇貞昌) called for the Legislature to amend the Constitution while keeping its original structure. Su's statement was also backed indirectly by incumbent DPP Chairwoman Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文), who noted that the current number of legislative seats should be restored to double the current number, something that can only be done by amending the Constitution.

The ruling Kuomintang (KMT) should refrain from avoiding constitutional reform issues by prioritizing Taiwan's economic needs, said Ker.

The most essential and challenging job the current generation of politicians faces is to amend the Constitution, said Ker. "The KMT should face the fact that they will not be able to claim the majority of Legislature votes every time; the people who benefit from current policies should not shy away from the problems. The great power of society is crucial when it comes to constitutional reform ... the ruling and opposition parties should push for this together."

Constitutional reforms must be carried out with changes in the Legislature as well, said Ker. "This includes how the people should cope with a president who has the power but only takes responsibility for his actions after he has stepped down, the dysfunctional parliament, the number of legislative seats, the voting system, etc. ... The ruling and opposition parties have the responsibility to built a complete constitutional government and parliament to ensure a stable political scene," Ker explained.

No Discussion of Constitutional Reforms: KMT

KMT caucus whip Lin Hung-chih (林鴻池) has stressed that the Legislature will not discuss constitutional amendments during the slated interim meetings, to which Ker replied that the ruling party caucus should stop shying away from the issue as both parties have proposed amendment bills. "We should immediately form a constitutional reform committee when the interim meetings are carried out and discuss the proposals," Ker added.

The DPP has scheduled to hold a large-scale policy meeting before the interim meetings, which are to be held on June 9 and 10. "Aside from the Free Economic Pilot Zones, the party will also be discussing the possible alternation of Taiwan's voting age limits (lowering the 20-year-old limit to 18) and several other proposals," said Ker. "Differing opinions will be gathered from party members."

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