Fri, Oct 26, 2007 - Page 1 News List

Su condemns ballot boycott proposal

TWO TOO MANY? Su Tseng-chang said it would set a bad precendent if pan-blue local governments went againt the Central Election Commission election guildlines

By Flora Wang and Mo Yan-chih  /  STAFF REPORTERS

Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) vice presidential candidate Su Tseng-chang (蘇貞昌) condemned the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) yesterday for setting a bad precedent with its pledge to boycott the Central Election Commission's (CEC) proposed plan to distribute the ballots for next March's presidential election and the UN referendum together.

Eighteen pan-blue governed cities and counties signed a joint statement on Wednesday pledging to distribute the ballots separately.

"The KMT has set a very bad example, and it would spark a vicious cycle if it became the ruling party and pan-green run local governments resisted its decisions," Su said after attending a Taipei City hot spring promotional event in Beitou (北投) District.

Su condemned the KMT for creating a confrontation between the central government and local governments and urged local governments to cooperate with the central government.

Speaking as a former Pingtung County and Taipei County commissioner, Su said he had never seen local governments resist central government policies.

Meanwhile, the KMT caucus threw its support behind the 18 local governments yesterday.

KMT caucus whip Kuo Su-chun (郭素春) urged the CEC to listen to former commission chairman Huang Shih-cheng (黃石城), who has said he would prefer the ballots to be handed out separately.

Huang was quoted by the Chinese-language China Times on Wednesday as saying that distributing the ballots together could lead to disorder.

The paper quoted him as warning the commission that conflicts could erupt between pan-blue and pan-green supporters on election day and urging the commission to be selfless, discreet and impartial.

"The CEC should not be exploited by the Democratic Progressive Party [DPP] as a tool of political wrangling," Kuo said yesterday. "A [former] member of the commission has publicly urged it to make a wise and conscientious decision."

KMT presidential candidate Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) also defended the 18 pan-blue governments yesterday, saying the decision was made to ensure the smooth running of the elections, not to spark a confrontation with the central government.

"The local governments need to deal with the ballots of the KMT's UN referendum, and so the [local government] heads were making a genuine suggestion, not boycotting the government's decision," Ma said.

He said some local governments made the same suggestion during the 2004 presidential election, and were able to persuade the CEC to distribute the two ballots separately -- and that had helped the elections run smoothly.

During the legislative elections on Jan. 12, referendums will be held on the DPP's proposal to recover the KMT's stolen assets and the KMT's proposal to give the legislature the power to investigate the president and his or her subordinates involved in alleged corruption.

Two other proposed referendums -- the DPP's call to use the name "Taiwan" to join the UN and KMT's call to "return" to the UN using the title "Republic of China" or other practical titles -- have not yet passed the second signature threshold.

The government wants to hold the UN referendums together with the presidential poll if the signature threshold can be met.

DPP Legislator Wang Tuoh (王拓) suggested printing a combination ballot for both elections.

"I think if we do this, our pan-blue friends shall not have any more grounds for complaint," Wang told a press conference, adding that his suggestion would simplify the entire process.

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