Fri, Jul 13, 2007 - Page 1 News List

Committee says yes to UN referendum

OVERRULED The appeal committee overturned the review committee's ruling, saying it could not deprive the public of the right to decide on an issue that concerns them

By Jimmy Chuang and Shih Hsiu-chuan  /  STAFF REPORTERS

The Democratic Progressive Party's (DPP) bid to hold a referendum on whether Taiwan should apply to join the UN using the name "Taiwan" got a new lease of life yesterday when the Cabinet's Committee of Appeal ruled in its favor.

"The Executive Yuan's Referendum Review Committee has the authority to decide whether an issue is suitable for a referendum, but it does not have the right to deprive the public of the right to vote on an issue that concerns them," Cabinet spokesman Shieh Jhy-wey (謝志偉) said.

The review committee rejected the bid on June 29 because a majority of its members believed that the issue was not a pressing public concern and most people already supported such a bid.

DPP Chairman Yu Shyi-kun immediately filed an appeal to the Cabinet.

Yu filed the initial proposal, supported by more than 90,000 signatures, with the Central Election Commission (CEC) on May 21. The CEC did a primary review of the proposal and then submitted it to the Referendum Review Committee for final approval.

verification

In accordance with the Referendum Law (公民投票法), now that the appeal has been granted, the CEC will begin verification of the 90,000 signatures. Once verification is completed, the DPP must collect at least 825,359 signatures, or 5 percent of the nation's eligible voters, within six months.

DPP legislative caucus whip Wang Tuoh (王拓) praised the Committee of Appeal yesterday, saying "its ruling met with public expectations."

"That's good news. The people will now be allowed to make their voices heard around the globe by voting that they want to enter the UN under the name Taiwan," Wang said.

It was "legitimate" for the Committee of Appeal to overturn the decision of the Referendum Review Committee because the former outranked the latter, he said.

Wang said that the reversal had nothing to do with partisanship because members of the Committee of Appeal are academics, unlike the members of the Referendum Review Committee, who are nominated by political parties in proportion to their number of legislative seats.

lawsuit

Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) Legislator Wu Yu-sheng (吳育昇) said that the Referendum Review committee should file an administrative lawsuit against the Committee of Appeal.

The Committee of Appeal can invalidate a ruling by the review committee only when there is procedural injustice involved, Wu said.

When the ruling by the Referendum Review Committee is regarded as "problematic" by the Committee of Appeal, the latter can ask the former to review the case again, instead of overturning the ruling itself, Wu said.

Wu lashed out at the Cabinet for manipulating the Committee of Appeal to suit its interests and destroying the credibility of the nation's civil system.

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