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LY to Officially Initiate Long Process of Constitutional Reform in April

icon2015/03/27
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 LY to Officially Initiate Long Process of Constitutional Reform in April  

 
Source: All Taipei newspapers    March 27, 2015
 
The Legislative Yuan has formed an ad hoc “Constitutional Reform Committee (CRC)” to address various amendment bills to the Constitution, officially initiating the process of legislative reform of the Constitution. Starting April 9, the CRC will hold a series of ten public hearings to seek opinions from scholars, experts, and civic groups on relevant issues in the hope that draft amendments to the Constitution would be finalized before the end of June so that a constitutional referendum can be held alongside the Presidential Election scheduled for January 2016.      
 
According to media reports, the KMT will finalize Constitutional reform proposals gradually which will move towards the direction of transforming the current “dual-executive system” to a cabinet one.  
 
Lai Shyh-bao (賴士葆), director of the KMT Central Policy Committee and KMT party whip stated that the KMT strongly opposed any Constitutional reform proposals which recommended lowering the threshold for the passage of Constitutional referendums, or any changes to the system of the state, national title or national flag.        
 
Hsueh-chang (呂學樟), a KMT legislator and convener of the KMT caucus Constitutional reform task force, stated yesterday that the KMT hoped to establish a constitutional government system in which power would be commensurate with responsibility, including reinstating the Legislative power of confirmation over the President’s nomination of a new Premier, conferring the Premier with the power to countersign Presidential degrees, and allowing legislators to hold cabinet posts. In addition, the KMT Constitutional reform task force would also discuss the possibility of increasing the number of vice premiers to two or three, from the current one, added Lu.   
 
Lu stated that the KMT’s priority in Constitutional reforms would be to push for an expansion of political participation by lowering the voting age to 18, establishing an absentee ballot system, lowering the threshold of party vote from 5% to 3% of the total vote for a political party to win at-large seats elected on party lists.  
 
The DPP has proposed that the Constitutional reforms be conducted in two stages. Lee Chun-yi (李俊俋), a DPP legislator and convener of the DPP caucus Constitutional reform task force, stated yesterday that the consensus within the DPP was that the first stage of Constitutional reforms should be conducted based on pragmatism, adding that the DPP’s four major proposals included lowering the voting age to 18, incorporating into the Constitution basic human rights clauses, abolishing the Examination Yuan and the Control Yuan, and lowering the threshold for the passage of Constitutional referendums. 
 
Lee added that Constitutional reforms should be conducted in two stages because it would be impossible to address issues related to governmental institutions and legislative seats within two months.     
 
The ad hoc “Constitutional Reform Committee” formed by the Legislative Yuan is composed of a total of 39 legislators, including 22 KMT legislators and 14 DPP legislators, based on each party’s  proportion of legislative seats. Currently, 14 draft amendments to the Constitution have been referred to the Constitutional Reform Committee for review.     
 

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