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Taiwan legislature delays emergency session on US beef
Publication Date : 20-06-2012
Citing the impending tropical storm, Taiwan legislators resolved to postpone their emergency session over US beef, said Speaker Wang Jin-pyng yesterday.
On Monday, lawmakers had agreed to run an emergency session today and Thursday, as a second chance for handling the so-called beef amendments.
On Tuesday, caucus whips across party lines agreed to postpone the session due to the approaching Tropical Storm Talim, which is due to make landfall Wednesday or Thursday.
Legislators have concluded that disaster relief in their electoral districts comes first, according to Wang.
President Ma Ying-jeou is aware of and favors the suspended start, Wang said at the Legislative Yuan yesterday. The president is concerned about the rough weather conditions and believes that so long as there is a tropical storm poses danger to Taiwan, the emergency session can wait, he said.
The news comes after ruling and opposition party lawmakers alike announced that they do not believe the emergency session can achieve a resolution on the beef issue. Reporters questioned Wang on whether the tropical storm postponement is a way to give the session “a natural death.”
“How could that be?” asked Wang.
The Kuomintang (KMT) caucus has submitted the requisite 40 signatures for initiating an emergency session, and so the meeting must take place.
“The KMT caucus has not withdrawn its motion,” the speaker said.
Asked when the new start date may be, Wang said that's up for debate.
“At an appropriate time, I will invite all caucus whips to exchange views,” he said.
At any rate, it is unlikely the session will occur in June, Wang said, adding that if the start date is postponed to July, then the duration of the emergency session can be extended.
Wang said that in a longer session, lawmakers may be able to handle other controversial cases such as the National Communications Commission personnel case and the stock gains tax draft.
The market does hope for an earlier vote on the stock gains tax draft, he said.
The Finance Committee passed the draft of the stock gains tax on June 4. After a full month of cross-party negotiations, the draft is eligible to face a vote on the floor.
Meanwhile, Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) caucus whip Ker Chien-ming said that opening the meeting as scheduled would been an exercise in futility.
“Even the KMT knows that if the meeting opens now, there would be no conclusion,” said Ker.
The DPP, People First Party (PFP), and Taiwan Solidarity Union held a joint press event yesterday.
PFP Legislator Thomas Lee said that the Ma administration needs to “tighten its screws” and provide comprehensive disaster relief.
DPP legislators said that between now and the session's start date is “prime time” for Ma to “reflect carefully ... have a conversation with himself” and “apologise” for recent policy missteps.