Sat, Jul 07, 2007 - Page 1 News List

Next year's polls to be held apart

By Loa Iok-sin and Shih Hsiu-chuan  /  STAFF REPORTERS

The Central Election Commission decided yesterday that the legislative and presidential elections willbe held separately next year.

The commission decided last month that the next legislative elections would be held on Jan. 12. Yesterday it determined that the presidential election would be held on March 22.

Legislative elections have traditionally been held in December while the first three direct presidential polls were held in March. It had been suggested the elections be combined to save resources.

"We asked parties to submit their comments on the issue. However, a cross-party consensus on combining the elections was not reached," commission Deputy Secretary-General Teng Tien-yu (鄧天佑) told a press conference after the commission met yesterday.

The commission also decided to print the insignia of each political party in color on the party ballots to help voters identify their choices for the legislative elections.

The January polls will be the first time a "single-member constituency, two-vote" system -- with one vote cast for a candidate and another for a political party -- is used. The number of second ballots received by a party will determine how many legislator-at-large seats it will have.

The ballots for individual legislative and presidential candidates will remain black-and-white, Teng said.

Newly formed political parties may also appear on the second ballot if they nominate more than a certain number of legislative candidates, Teng said.

Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) caucus whip Hsu Shao-ping (徐少萍) said the decision to hold separate polls had been influenced by Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) presidential candidate Frank Hsieh (謝長廷).

Hsieh reportedly favors keeping the two elections separate.

Hsu said the committee's decision would strengthen the KMT's resolve to pass its proposed amendment to the Organic Law of the Central Election Commission (中央選舉委員會組織法) in next week's special legislative session.

People First Party spokesman Lee Hung-chun (李鴻鈞) slammed yesterday decision as "a waste of public money."

DPP caucus whip Wang Tuoh (王拓) said it was difficult to determine "the advantages or disadvantages of separating the elections or holding them together."

Taiwan Solidarity Union Secretary-General Chien Cheng-shan (錢橙山) said his party approved the committee's decision.

Additional reporting by CNA

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