[an error occurred while processing this directive]
BBC News
watch One-Minute World News
Last Updated: Monday, 30 May, 2005, 10:42 GMT 11:42 UK
Taiwan's reform plans put to vote
By Chris Hogg
BBC Taiwan correspondent

An elected body which is being asked to overhaul Taiwan's constitution has begun work, amid political wrangling.

The National Assembly will meet for the next month to vote on amendments the government says are necessary to streamline Taiwan's legislative system.

But five deputies of smaller political parties have objected to the plans.

They argue they will strengthen the two main parties - the governing Democratic Progressive Party and the opposition Kuomintang - at their expense.

The 300 members of the National Assembly will be asked to ratify significant changes to the way Taiwan is governed.

These include the halving of the number of seats in the island's parliament and a proposal that all future constitutional changes are decided by referendums rather than by the National Assembly itself.

There is little doubt the measures will be approved.

Political weight

Between them, the governing party and the main opposition hold more than 80% of the seats, and both back the reforms.

The referendum clause has raised some concerns in Beijing, which fears it could be used in future by activists keen to force a vote on independence.

China regards Taiwan as little more than a breakaway province that should be reunited with the mainland, by force if necessary.

The island's President, Chen Shui-bian has denied the changes are designed to promote independence.

He says they are needed to improve the way Taiwan is run.

Chen warns on China 'interfering'
09 May 05 |  Asia-Pacific
Taiwan head in surprise Fiji stop
04 May 05 |  Asia-Pacific
Lien visit warms Taiwan-China prospects
03 May 05 |  Asia-Pacific
Taiwan head seeks Beijing talks
01 May 05 |  Asia-Pacific
Lien's China trip highlights tensions
27 Apr 05 |  Asia-Pacific


The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites


News Front Page | Africa | Americas | Asia-Pacific | Europe | Middle East | South Asia
UK | Business | Entertainment | Science/Nature | Technology | Health
Have Your Say | In Pictures | Week at a Glance | Country Profiles | In Depth | Programmes
Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific