As the legislative session ended yesterday, legislators seized the last chance to pass several major bills, including an amendment on the appointment of the nation's top prosecutor as well as a flood control measure that languished in the body for several months.
The second session of the Sixth Legislature passed 86 bills in total, including 57 legal bills and another 11 proposals to abolish outdated statutes.
The amendment to the Court Organic Law allows the president to name the nation's top prosecutor, who must then obtain approval from the Legislature before taking office. In the past, the lawmaking body had no say in the selection of the state prosecutor.
The reform is intended to prevent the top state public prosecutor from being at the mercy of the president. Also to that end, the new top prosecutor may serve only one four-year term.
Lawmakers said they made the amendment by taking a lesson from the United States' prosecutorial system and stressed that the post of state public prosecutor-general is so important that the top prosecutor should be supervised by the Legislature, which represents the public.
The president will have to nominate a candidate for the post of state public prosecutor-general within one month after the revision takes effect.
Under the newly passed law, a special investigating agency will also be established. The new agency, headed by the prosecutor-general, will be in charge of probing major as well as international cases.
In addition, the agency will be empowered to investigate corruption cases that involve the president, the vice president as well as heads of other government agencies.
The investigative body will have the power to launch probes into the Lafayette scandal and the election-eve shooting of President Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁) and Vice President Annette Lu (呂秀蓮).
People First Party Legislator Kao Su-po said that under the new rules, prosecutors do not have to worry about interference from their supervisors, including the president and the justice minister. Furthermore, they will not have to be fearful while investigating any controversial or major cases, Kao added.
Meanwhile, the Legislature passed the Special Flood Control Ordinance that allows the government NT$116 billion over eight fiscal years to carry out measures to prevent flooding.
The government may borrow half of the flood-control budget and cover the other half, using funds originally earmarked for the special five-year national development plan.
Under the new law, the government will make a loan of NT$58 billion while the remaining NT$58 billion special budget will be covered from the government's NT$500 billion budget, that was originally earmarked for a package of ten major infrastructure projects over five fiscal years.
The central government, instead of the local governments, will be responsible for carrying out the flood-control projects according to the law.
In addition, legislators passed an amendment to the Public Officials Election and Recall Law that requires legislative approval of the redrawing of constituencies for future legislative elections after the Central Election Commission makes the initial adjustment.
And the revision stipulates that the redrawing of constituencies should be approved one month before the expiration of legislators' terms in office.
If the Legislature fails to approve the redrawing of constituencies before the required period, the premier and the legislative speaker should convene a negotiation over those disputed redrawing of constituencies.
Another revised clause in the Public Officials Election and Recall Law stipulates that vacancies of those elected local representatives should be fulfilled by the second highest vote-getter if they are convicted of election bribery and judges decide that the elections are invalid.