Newspaper article China Post

A Fresh Start for the Legislative Yuan?

Newspaper article China Post

A Fresh Start for the Legislative Yuan?

Article excerpt

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Today, all eyes are on the Ninth Legislative Yuan as it convenes its first session.

For the first time in Taiwan since the start of direct elections, the Legislature will be controlled by a pan-green coalition led by the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP).

Moreover, it's a younger and more gender-equal Legislative Yuan than ever before. The average age of lawmakers has fallen to 49.94, down from the previous session's 52 years old. Women hold 43 seats out of 113, or 38 percent, to set a new record.

In general, hopes are high, with some observers hailing the new legislative body as a force for reform at last.

But while the new session will usher new faces and a new political composition, it is not a given that Taiwan's new lawmakers will turn the page to a new chapter that is positive for Taiwan's democratic system.

In the new Legislature, much will depend on who wins today's speakership election. The strict neutrality of the legislative speaker, a principle that the DPP ostensibly supports, is important to ensuring the autonomy of the Legislative Yuan.

The Kuomintang's (KMT) Wang Jin-pyng ([...]), who has served as legislative speaker for a record-long 17 years, along the way gained a reputation for allowing personal party squabbles, such as his famous problems with the president, to interfere in the law-making process.

President-elect Tsai Ing-wen has said that her party was pushing for a speaker who would not attend political party events and would not hold any party positions.

But now, with the DPP's legislative caucus rallying behind Tsai's former running mate, Su Jia-chyuan ([...]), for legislative speaker, some observers are concerned that the Legislative Yuan could end up becoming the president's henchmen.

National Dong Hwa University professor Shih Cheng-feng has rightfully pointed out that how the new president treats the Legislative Yuan will be crucial to the latter's ability to enact reforms. …

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