Taiwan Legislature postpones pension reform until after 2 hearings

Decision follows violent clashes and attacks on legislators by protesters

Protests against reform of unfair pensions.

Protests against reform of unfair pensions. (By Central News Agency)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) – Following violent incidents outside, the Legislative Yuan decided Wednesday to postpone the detailed review of reforms of unfair pensions until after two hearings to be conducted next week.

The Legislature had been scheduled to discuss the government plans on Wednesday, but protesters taking part in a siege of the compound beginning Tuesday clashed with police and attacked lawmakers arriving for work, creating a tense atmosphere.

Negotiations between the caucuses of the ruling Democratic Progressive Party and the main opposition Kuomintang resulted in an agreement to first hold two hearings, one about civil servants in general on April 26 and one about teachers on April 27.

Until those hearings had been held, no clause-by-clause review of the government reform proposals would take place, lawmakers said.

The Legislative Yuan’s Judiciary and Organic Laws and Statutes Committee would only conduct that review, initially planned for Wednesday, the week after the hearings, in early May, caucus leaders said.

As a result, some of the protesters were leaving the area around the Legislative Yuan but heading for other locations, such as the Presidential Office, the Taipei Railway Station and the DPP headquarters, reports said.

Lawmakers expressed the hope that the compromise reached would help to defuse tension and cool tempers. Wednesday morning, several legislators arriving for the review and even Taipei City Mayor Ko Wen-je (柯文哲), who was visiting the Legislative Yuan for an unrelated matter, were physically attacked by protesters.

President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) issued a strong condemnation of the violence and vowed she would continue on her path to reform the unfair pensions.