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Taiwan May Abolish National Assembly

March 28, 2000

TAIPEI, Taiwan (AP) _ Taiwan’s two largest political parties have proposed abolishing the National Assembly, a 339-member body that approves constitutional changes.

The assembly has long been criticized for being inefficient and unnecessary, and the Nationalist and Democratic Progressive parties struck a deal Monday night to try to dissolve it.

The assembly caused a public furor late last year when it voted to extend its popularly elected members’ four-year terms.

Last week, the Council of Grand Justices, which interprets the constitution, ruled that the term extension was unconstitutional. The Central Election Commission decided that elections for the delegates should be held May 6.

Caucuses in the assembly for the Nationalists and the Democratic Progressives agreed to ask President Lee Teng-hui to call an extraordinary session so that negotiations can be started to abolish the body, the parties said.

The powers of the assembly are more limited than those of a parliament or congress in a Western democracy. In Taiwan, the role of a parliament is jointly fulfilled by the assembly and the Legislative Yuan.

Critics of the assembly believe that the legislature can also perform the assembly’s functions.

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