Sun, Nov 18, 2007 - Page 1 News List

Ma stands by KMT snub of CEC ruling

'ADMINISTRATIVE ORDER' Taipei Mayor Hau Lung-bin was the first local government head to toe the KMT line by announcing that the city would not use 'one-step voting'

By Shih Hsiu-chuan  /  STAFF REPORTER

Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) presidential candidate Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) yesterday defended his party's plan to ignore the Central Election Committee's (CEC) ruling on "one-step voting" and instead adopt the "two step" voting system in 18 local cities and counties during the legislative election in January.

"The CEC's decision was merely an administrative order. The 18 city and county governments governed by the pan-blue camp would not violate any laws by adopting the two-step system," Ma said yesterday during a visit in Tainan City.

The CEC on Friday said that ballots for the Jan. 12 legislative election and referendums would be handed out together at the entrance to the polling stations, ending weeks of wrangling between the pan-blue and pan-green camps over the manner in which the ballots should be handed out.

The KMT condemned the CEC decision and vowed to stick to the two-step system.

Ma said the 18 local government heads would exercise their authority and handle the elections their own way to ensure order during the vote.

"The local government heads will be well-prepared to ensure that voting on election day goes unhindered," Ma said.

Taipei Mayor Hau Lung-bin (郝龍斌), meanwhile, confirmed yesterday that the Taipei City Government would also follow the KMT's plan and would start educating Taipei residents about the process.

"The two-step system will prevent disputes over election-related issues. Besides, the arrangement of elections lies within the local government's authority," he said in Taipei yesterday.

The 18 pan-blue local governments signed a joint statement pledging to exercise their authority according to the Local Government Act (地方自治法) and handle the Jan. 12 elections their own way.

In response, Premier Chang Chun-hsiung (張俊雄) yesterday called on pan-blue local government heads to abide by the CEC's decision.

"They can express their dissent, but before related laws are amended, they have to obey the decision, otherwise it will lead to disorder," Chang said when asked for comment.

The CEC ruling was based on the Election and Recall Law of Civil Servants (公職人員選舉罷免法), a law approved by the legislature and promulgated by the president. It therefore has to be observed to maintain law and order, Chang said.

"Furthermore, the law stipulates that local election commissions are supervised by the CEC, even though they are set up under local governments," he said.

Meanwhile, Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) presidential candidate Frank Hsieh (謝長廷) urged the KMT not to encourage revolt against the government.

"The public will be put at a disadvantage and the nation will lose out as a result of [ensuing] confrontations," he said.

Hsieh said the KMT should stop setting the public against the government on every issue as it has done since the DPP came to power in 2000.

"The KMT will be in power some day. Don't act like you will always be an opposition party," he said.

Cabinet spokesman Shieh Jhy-wey (謝志偉) urged opposition parties yesterday to respect the CEC's decision.

Shieh said the CEC had made its decision on adopting the "one step" voting format based on professional judgment and its experience in holding elections.

He said the CEC also took the principles of "simplicity and convenience" into consideration in reaching its decision, adding that the upcoming legislative election would be the first to feature the simultaneous holding of two referendums.

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