Sun, Dec 24, 2006 - Page 1 News List

KMT threatens to kill executive budget

SUSPENSION The caucus proposed the move in response to the DPP's intention to hold a referendum on KMT assets despite accusations that it violated constitutional principles


The Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) legislative caucus threatened yesterday to kill or freeze next year's Executive Yuan budget to protest what the caucus called the Cabinet's "willful" decision to press ahead with a referendum to reclaim the KMT's stolen assets.

The dispute arose after the Executive Yuan's Petition Committee ruled on Nov. 20 that the Democratic Progressive Party's (DPP) proposal to hold a referendum to reclaim the KMT assets is legitimate and that the DPP can proceed with a second-phase signature drive after the identities of the referendum's initiators are verified by household registry authorities.

The committee made the ruling on the grounds that the Referendum Review Committee had failed to make a decision on the case within the legal time limit of one month -- by Nov. 4.

However, insisting that the deadline for the case was Nov. 25, the Referendum Review Committee ruled on Nov. 24 that the DPP's proposal violated the constitutional principles of equality and non-retroactivity and was therefore invalid.

KMT Legislator Pan Wei-kang (潘維剛) said that the KMT petitioned the Executive Yuan to suspend its processing of the DPP proposal in the wake of the dispute and filed an administrative lawsuit on Dec. 8 over the case.

However, the Executive Yuan ignored the KMT's request and instructed the Central Election Commission (CEC) to go ahead with the subsequent procedure and have local household registry authorities review the list of initiators submitted by the DPP, Pan said.

"The action of the government is way too bullish," she said at a press conference yesterday. "[The KMT caucus] will not rule out freezing the Executive Yuan's budget for next year."

Su Chi (蘇起), another KMT legislator, said it was "lawless" for the DPP and Executive Yuan to push for the referendum while disregarding the ruling by the Referendum Review Committee.

Su said he suspects the DPP's move is aimed at paving the way for its plan to hold another referendum jointly with the 2008 presidential election in order to boost its chances of victory.

If the DPP is allowed to defy the Referendum Review Committee this time, the DPP is likely to push for a referendum for a new constitution or Taiwan independence next, Su said.

The DPP is planning to hold the referendum on the KMT's assets along with the legislative elections in December next year.

The Referendum Law (公投法) states that a proposal to hold a national referendum should be initiated by more than 0.5 percent of the number of eligible voters in the last presidential election.

After the proposal passes a preliminary screening by the CEC, the initiators are required to further collect within six months signatures from more than 5 percent of the number of eligible voters in the last presidential election.

The number of eligible voters totaled 16.57 million in the 2004 presidential election; 82,536 signatures are required in the first phase and 825,359 in the second phase.

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