TAIPEI : Democracy for Taiwan?

Taiwan's National Assembly opens a special session Monday to discuss constitutional changes that could bring genuine democracy to the island.

Most members of the Assembly, which chooses Taiwan's president, were elected on the Chinese mainland in the late 1940s. They have not faced voters since 1949, when the Nationalist government fled to Taiwan after losing a civil war to the Communists.

Under the proposed amendments, the number of Assembly seats would be reduced to 327 from the current 613. Most seats would be filled by direct elections, while some would go to party appointees.

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