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April 30, 2017

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DPP and KMT to lock horns in interim session

TAIPEI, Taiwan -- The ruling Kuomintang (KMT) and the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) caucuses will be locking horns in today's interim Legislature meeting in order to pass their own proposed bills.

Having agreed to hold an interim session starting June 13, the KMT has drafted a meeting agenda with 26 items, the major ones being the personnel cases of the Examination Yuan and the Control Yuan, the special draft of the Free Economic Pilot Zones, a supervisory law regarding cross-strait agreements and the controversial Cross-Strait Trade in Services Agreement itself.

The Taiwan Solidarity Union's differing opinions will be discussed in a meeting this afternoon, said KMT caucus whip Lin Hung-chih (林鴻池).

"Many people have been concerned about the Free Economic Pilot Zones draft, and the supervisory law of cross-strait pacts, but it would be difficult to make obvious progress in such a short time," said Lin.

DPP caucus whip Ker Chien-ming (柯建銘) announced that the DPP will be proposing for Premier Jiang Yi-huah (江宜樺) to deliver a report and await interpellation on the government's affordable housing project and the related corruption cases. Another important item on the DPP's list is the amendment of the Constitution to lower the voting age. "We will be forcing the KMT to take a side on this," said Ker.

Legislative Yuan Speaker Wang Jin-pyng (王金平) yesterday gathered the lawmakers for a cross-caucus negotiation. There will be another negotiation regarding the meeting agenda as the caucuses once again failed to reach a consensus yesterday.

In response to DPP Chairwoman Tsai Ing-wen's (蔡英文) remark that the DPP will be "putting up a good fight" in the interim session, KMT caucus whip marked Tsai as "violent" and that her words were "frightening."

DPP spokesman Lin Chun-hsien (林俊憲) lashed back, saying that the president should be reflecting on his ways and learn to truly communicate with the all parties and citizens. "President Ma Ying-jeou should stop controlling the parliament and allow it to review items clause by clause," said Lin.

Not the Time for A Constitutional Reform: KMT

KMT spokesman Charles Chen (陳以信) said that public surveys have indicated that the Taiwanese people are divided on whether the Constitution should be amended. "This phenomenon shows that this particular interim session will not be the best time to amend the constitution," said Chen.

The government has conducted many surveys over the past years regarding the amendment issue, and the results have been quite consistent, said Chen. "In every survey, there were more people against the lowering of the age limit than those who agreed. This means that the people do not wish for the age standard to be lowered ... and there are many restrictions when it comes to reforming the Constitution. Even if we try to amend the Constitution by force, it would not pass if the people have not yet reached a consensus over this," said Chen.

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