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Friday set for new legislative session

2020-02-15Taipei Times  English News
Police officers guard an entrance at the Legislative Yuan in Taipei on Jan. 28 last year. / Photo courtesy of Taipei Times
Police officers guard an entrance at the Legislative Yuan in Taipei on Jan. 28 last year. / Photo courtesy of Taipei Times

The legislative caucuses yesterday agreed to start the new legislative session on Friday next week, and have Premier Su Tseng-chang give an administrative report and answer lawmakers’ questions.

Members of the four caucuses convened to discuss the new session’s starting date.

The Constitution stipulates that a legislative session must begin within a month of lawmakers being inaugurated, meaning that the new session must begin before Feb. 27, Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) caucus whip Ker Chien-ming said, adding that they chose from three dates: Tuesday next week, Friday next week and Feb. 25.

Friday is the most suitable time, as the Executive Yuan is scheduled to sponsor a special relief bill for the COVID-19 outbreak in China, Ker said.

New Power Party (NPP) caucus whip Chiu Hsien-chih said that if the session were to start on Tuesday next week, agencies drafting the bill could fine-tune it according to lawmakers’ suggestions during the question-and-answer session.

Taiwan People’s Party (TPP) caucus whip Lai Hsiang-ling echoed Chiu’s remarks.

Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) caucus whip Lin Wei-chou said that starting the session on Tuesday would give lawmakers more time to review the proposal.

Ker said that agencies tasked with disease prevention are busy and asked the other caucuses to give them time to monitor the situation.

KMT caucus secretary-general Chiang Wan-an said that his caucus agreed to the session starting on Friday on the condition that the Executive Yuan delivers a special written report on efforts to contain COVID-19.

Ker commended Chiang’s proposal, saying that it is the Executive Yuan’s duty to add content on disease prevention efforts to its report, which was delivered to the legislature before the outbreak.

Su should set aside time in his oral report to talk about the government’s efforts to combat the disease, Ker said.

After the TPP and NPP caucuses accepted Chiang’s proposal, Legislative Speaker Yu Shyi-kun announced the new session’s starting date, and that Su would give an administrative report that is to include a presentation on efforts to contain COVID-19.

The caucuses are to issue a joint statement on that day to urge the WHO to allow Taiwan’s participation in the world health body as COVID-19 spreads globally.

Each caucus is to appoint a representative to discuss the wording of the resolution, which is to be signed by all caucuses on Thursday next week and issued during a plenary session the following day.