Thu, Jul 17, 2003 - Page 1 News List

DPP wants referendum on assembly

REFORM DRIVE As well as voting on the Fourth Nuclear Power Plant and the nation's WHO bid, the future of the National Assembly should also be put before the public, DPP legislators believe

By Fiona Lu  /  STAFF REPORTER

A referendum on abolishing the National Assembly should be included on a list of referendums the government is considering holding on the same day as next year's presidential election, DPP lawmakers said yesterday.

DPP legislative leader Chen Chi-mai (陳其邁) said the question could be included in a vote on legislative reform, in particular halving the number of seats in the Legislative Yuan.

The government is also considering holding referendums on the Fourth Nuclear Power Plant and the country's bid to join the World Health Organization.

Chen said that once the public has endorsed the reform, the Legislative Yuan would have to present a petition to amend the Constitution within six months.

Limited role

The National Assembly, which used to elect the president but now convenes only to consider changes to the Constitution, would then have to meet to finalize the amendments.

The DPP and its pan-green partner the TSU both support halving the number of legislature seats.

DPP Legislator Julian Kuo (郭正亮), who presented the plans along with Chen, said, "The issue of legislative reform should be more than downsizing the legislature."

"A study on abolishing the National Assembly and mapping out a clearer plan for the country's constitutional reform by transferring the confirmation right over constitutional revisions to the people through referendums should be encouraged," Kuo said.

He said the referendum was proposed to help get reform bills through the legislature.

A large number of reform bills, including bills related to legislative reform, have been held up in the Legislative Yuan for almost a year, Kuo said.

"Pressure from the people is the only way to drive lawmakers to cope with issues such as halving the number of legislature seats, since it is understandable that lawmakers will try to avoid harming their interests by delaying discussion of these bills," Kuo said.

Ally's support

The TSU said it supported the move to hold the extra referendum.

"Halving the number of legislature seats and abolishing the National Assembly are two ultimate goals sought by the TSU. We are glad to see the endorsement from the DPP and hope that they will really work for it," said TSU legislative whip Chien Lin Whei-jun (錢林慧君).

But the KMT said that the DPP was trying to do things in the wrong order.

"The ruling party's proposal is unhelpful since the Constitution already states that the modification should be made by the National Assembly after a legislative petition is filed" to convene the body, said KMT Legislator Chen Chieh (陳杰).

Chen said that passing referendum legislation was still his party's priority in the next legislative session so that a referendum can be held before March 20.

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