Legislative reform top priority for Taiwan's next president: scholar

Washington, Dec. 8 (CNA) The top domestic issue for Taiwan's next president to address is reform in the Legislature, among other challenges, said a U.S. scholar during a Tuesday seminar on the impact of the Jan. 16 presidential and legislative elections in Taiwan.

Among the five domestic challenges Taiwan's next president has to deal with, reform in the Legislative Yuan is the number one issue, said Kharis Templeman, program manager of the Taiwan Democracy Program at Stanford University's Center on Democracy, Development and the Rule of Law.

Over the past years, the legislative and the executive branches of the Taiwan government have failed to work cooperatively to push for priority bills of the ruling party, he said.

The problem existed during the previous Chen Shui-bian administration of the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP), when the then opposition party Kuomintang held the majority in the Legislature, and the problem has remained with the current administration of Ma Ying-jeou of the KMT, he noted.

As an example of a typical scenario in Taiwan, Templeman cited the frequent tactic of opposition party lawmakers carrying out a physical filibuster when Legislative Speaker Wang Jin-pyng tries to preside over a vote on bills in the Legislature.

Solving the problem should be the first priority for Taiwan's next president, he said.

The DPP's presidential candidate Tsai Ing-wen, presumably Taiwan's next president, would become "another Ma Ying-jeou, unless this gets changed," he added.

In addition to legislative reform, Taiwan's next president faces four other domestic challenges: low tax base, economic strategy, defense budget, and environment and energy policy, Templeman said.

In the countdown to the three-way presidential race Jan. 16, Tsai continued to hold a commanding lead in the polls over her opponents, the KMT's Eric Chu and James Soong of the People First Party (PFP). (By Rita Cheng and Elaine Hou)