Wed, Oct 26, 2011 - Page 1 News List

DPP’s proposed Referendum Act change blocked

By Shih Hsiu-chuan and Chris Wang  /  Staff Reporters

The Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) yesterday blocked a proposal by the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) to write into the Referendum Act (公民投票法) that holding political talks with China would require referendums before and after all negotiations.

Holding a majority at the legislature’s Procedure Committee, KMT lawmakers voted not to put the proposed amendment to the Referendum Act and 66 other bills onto the legislative agenda for the plenary sessions on Friday and Tuesday next week.

That the DPP proposed revising the Referendum Act at this moment was “nothing but an election tactic,” KMT Legislator Lin Yi-shih (林益世) said. “Although the amendment is well-intended, the content was carelessly written. The legislature can’t pass a bill like this.”

The DPP proposed the amendment after President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) pledged that he would not sign a peace agreement with China if it failed to pass a referendum.

Lin accused the DPP of applying double standards, saying that the DPP did not ask for the inclusion of such articles in the Referendum Act when DPP Chairperson Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) proposed a cross-strait peace agreement when she was the head of the Mainland Affairs Council, but found fault with Ma when he proposed a similar idea.

“The proposal to amend the Referendum Act is a phony issue. The DPP’s main purpose is to paralyze the legislature so that it can accuse President Ma of being incompetent,” KMT caucus whip Chao Li-yun (趙麗雲) said.

DPP caucus whip Wong Chin-chu (翁金珠) said she was disappointed and upset by the boycott. She slammed the KMT veto, saying it proved that Ma’s proposed cross-strait peace accord was nothing more than a campaign gambit.

Ma earlier this month said “cautious consideration” would be given to signing a cross-strait peace pact within a decade, under several preconditions.

Tsai said she was sorry to learn that the proposal had been blocked by the KMT.

“However, if President Ma is sincere in fulfilling his commitment of allowing the 23 million Taiwanese to determine their future through referendums, he should work toward the institutionalization of referendums,” Tsai said.

With the KMT’s blocking of the proposal, Taiwanese have witnessed the inconsistency of Ma’s position on referendums, she said, adding that the DPP would continue to promote the institutionalization of referendums.

With references to the Republic of China (ROC) and the People’s Republic of China (PRC) in the text of its proposal, the DPP tried to highlight the state-to state status of relations across the Taiwan Strait, DPP Legislator Tsai Huang-liang (蔡煌瑯) said after the proposal was blocked.

The KMT move showed that its determination to safeguard the ROC’s sovereignty was questionable, he said.

The DPP still hopes the KMT will agree to a bilateral consultation on the legislation by Friday, after Tsai Ing-wen proposed on Friday last week that talks on the matter be held within a week.

In the press conference, Tsai Huang-liang said Ma’s statement on Monday that negotiations for a peace agreement with China would need “10 guarantees” and be conducted “under the framework of the ROC Constitution” and promote bilateral engagement based on the so-called “1992 consensus” were “contradictory” because the Constitution does not recognize the PRC’s sovereignty.

Ma referred to the 10 guarantees as “one framework, two prerequisites, three principles and four assurances.”

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