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DPP delays proposal to alter key constitutional provisions

Yu denies delay due to U.S. pressure, says time not right for changes

DPP delays proposal to alter key constitutional provisions

The Central Executive Committee of the Democratic Progressive Party decided yesterday to continue its examination of the governing party's draft package of changes to Taiwan's constitution.
Although DPP Chairman Yu Shyi-kun (游錫?) had stated earlier that the party's highest policy-making body would approve a package of draft amendments yesterday, he announced that the committee resolved after intense debate to delay approval pending more discussion within the committee and the party's legislative caucus and dialogue with civic reform groups and academic specialists.
Regarding recent expressions of concern from Washington that President Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁) and the DPP government should abide by the "four noes" commitments made by Chen not to change Taiwan's official name, flag or territory, Yu stressed that the DPP is a "civic organization."
Yu denied that the delay was made due to pressure from the United States over possible proposals to change the definition of the national territory or sensitive issues in the "General Provisions" of the Constitution of the Republic of China (Taiwan).
Besides reaffirming his position that the DPP headquarters would be "open-minded on the results" and "maintain a democratic process" in the review, the DPP chairman stressed that "the party has its program and its 'Resolution on the Future of Taiwan'" and declared that "if as chairman, I set our program and the Resolution on Taiwan's Future' aside, would our party still be considered a political party?
"As chairman and standing from the standpoint of the Democratic Progressive Party, I must realize our party's fundamental values," declared Yu.
Yu said that the next scheduled CEC meeting in early November will review the draft proposals for adopting either a presidential or parliamentary cabinet system, but could not specify a timetable for the party's final approval of a constitutional reform package.
The DPP chairman stressed that as opposition parties, namely the former ruling Kuomintang and its allied People First Party, are pushing for another recall drive against President Chen Shui-bian and as the media's attention is riveted on the "Depose Chen" campaign initiated by former DPP Chairman Shih Ming-teh (施明德), "there is no atmosphere for broad discussion of constitutional re-engineering in our society at this time."
The DPP chairman stressed that the party's core values were expressed in its program and in the May 1999 "Resolution on Taiwan's Future," which emphasized that Taiwan is an "independent and sovereign country" with the constitutional name of the "Republic of China" and had "no overlapping sovereignty" and was "not a part of the People's Republic of China."
The Resolution furthermore stated that any changes in Taiwan's independent status had to be approved by the 23 million residents of Taiwan through referendum.
Yu emphasized that the DPP's proposals for constitutional reform "should continue" these values and stated that the party constitutional reform committee had provided three alternative drafts of the "General Provisions."
Alternative versions
The "New Contract" report noted that constitutional reform involved "sovereignty issues" such as the national moniker, the national structure and definition of its national territory, "human rights issues" to guarantee the basic rights of citizens and "institutional issues" concerned with establishing a governmental system with corresponding powers and responsibilities.
In the sensitive field of sovereignty, the three versions reflected alternative strategies for reworking the "General Provisions." One would aim to uphold the DPP's core positions; a second would adopt a "pragmatic" and "discounted" gradualist version; and the third would basically retain the current definitions of sovereignty and territory.
The first option would refer to "the Republic of Taiwan" and define its territory as comprising "the island of Taiwan, the Pescadores, Kinmen, Matsu and other subsidiary islands."
Article One in the second option would state that "Taiwan is a democratic republic of the people, to be governed by the people and for the people and its national name is the Republic of China."
While retaining the current definition of the R.O.C.'s territory "according to its existing national boundaries" in Article Four, the second version would drop the outdated requirement that this definition "shall not be altered except by resolution of the National Assembly," which no longer exists.
Instead, the second version incorporates the new procedure for amendment through a resolution by a three-fourths majority of the Legislative Yuan and subsequent ratification by national referendum.
The second version would also explicitly acknowledge the international recognition of the independence of Mongolia and the People's Republic of China and note that, as a result, the effective range of the R.O.C. national territory was Taiwan, the Pescadores, Kinmen, Matsu and other minor associated islands.
The third version, while keeping the original definition on the R.O.C. territory, would also incorporate the new procedure for constitutional change as valid for proposals to change the territorial definition.


Updated : 2020-11-30 06:46 GMT+08:00