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Pan-blues stall 'Ma exclusion bill' again

Legislators from the opposition Kuomintang and People First Party yesterday jointly blocked an amendment bill dubbed the "Ma's exclusion clause" from the legislative agenda after PFP Chairman James Soong (宋楚瑜) ordered his party legislators to cooperate with the KMT on killing the bill.
The total absence of PFP legislators from a similar meeting last month meant that the bill sailed into a plenary session, to the KMT's dismay, but it was later defeated by a joint KMT and PFP effort after the KMT agreed to honor a controversial agreement with the PFP.
The leaders of the two parties had agreed in January to cooperate in the year-end legislative election and to give preferential treatment to PFP nominees in certain legislative districts. The PFP's absence from the legislative meeting last month was in protest against what it saw as the KMT intention to renege on the legislative nomination issue.
After yesterday's legislative meeting, the PFP's policymaking chief Hwang Yih-Jiau said that the "pan-blue" opposition supporters would not like to see the PFP and the KMT fighting like cats and dogs as the presidential aspirants of the ruling Democratic Progressive Party have been doing.
Given assurances
The Central News Agency quoted another high-ranking PFP official as saying that in negotiations Monday night between PFP Legislator Lee Fu-tien and KMT Secretary General Wu Den-yih (吳敦義), Lee was given the assurance that a seven-point agreement reached between the two parties on April 20 would be honored by the KMT. The agreement details the legislative districts in which PFP nominees would have precedence in the December legislative election, the PFP official was quoted as saying.
After being notified by Lee of the agreement reached with Wu, Soong ordered his party legislators back the KMT yesterday in boycotting the bill, which was initiated by the DPP.
The amendment has been dubbed the "Ma's exclusion clause" because it would prevent former KMT Chairman Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) from running for president if he is found guilty in an ongoing corruption trial.
Under the current law governing presidential elections, persons who have been convicted and sentenced to a fixed prison term or are standing trial for crimes punishable by the death penalty, a life sentence or imprisonment for more than ten years are barred from running for president. The amendment seeks to set the bar higher by excluding anyone found guilty and sentenced in the first court.
Ma is standing trial for allegedly diverting NT$11 million from a special mayoral allowance fund during his tenure as Taipei City mayor in the period of 2002 to 2006. Ma concurrently announced his resignation as the KMT chairman and his bid for president hours after he was indicted in February.
Ma, the KMT's presidential front-runner, is hailed as his party's best bet to regain power after its loss to the DPP in the 2000 and 2004 presidential elections.

Updated : 2021-06-19 00:13 GMT+08:00