Wed, Jun 08, 2016 - Page 1 News List

NPP to push constitutional reforms

By Chen Wei-han  /  Staff reporter

New Power Party Executive Chairman Huang Kuo-chang, second right, speaks at a press conference at the legislature in Taipei yesterday about constitutional reform.

Photo: Wang Yi-sung, Taipei Times

The New Power Party (NPP) yesterday said it would propose constitutional amendments to remove the “one country, two areas” article from the Constitution, abolish the Taiwan Provincial Government and lower the minimum voting age from 20 to 18.

An amendment made to the Constitution in 1991 “to meet the requisites prior to national unification” recognizes the “Chinese mainland area” as opposed to the “free area,” and both areas make up the Republic of China.

“The constitutional identification of ‘one country, two areas’ is the biggest joke in the history of constitutional democracy, because the idea goes against the principle of popular sovereignty, which states that the authority of a nation is created and sustained by its citizens,” NPP Executive Chairman Huang Kuo-chang (黃國昌) said.

“Taiwan is a sovereign nation with a population of 23 million people and there is no ‘Chinese mainland area’ in this nation,” he added.

Surveys have shown that more than 70 percent of Taiwanese believe that the “cross-strait relationship” is international in nature, and abolishing the “one country, two areas” article is key to normalizing Taiwan’s status and dealing with the notorious legacy of the now-defunct National Assembly, Huang said.

Abolishing the Act Governing Relations between the People of the Taiwan Area and the Mainland Area (臺灣地區與大陸地區人民關係條例) is a further step that needs to be taken toward the normalization of the nation, he added.

Lowering the voting age is a global trend to encourage young people to exercise their political rights, but the Chinese Nationalist Party’s (KMT) unreasonable boycott of a proposal to lower the voting age last year obstructed a potential youth empowerment and constitutional amendment, Huang said.

“There are 890,000 people aged between 14 and 16, and they can cast their first ballot in the next presidential and legislative elections in 2020 if the amendment can be put to a referendum and approved in the next nine-in-one elections in 2018,” he said.

The constitutional changes in 1998 stripped the Taiwan Provincial Government of its authority, essentially making it a nominal institution, but it still costs the nation millions of New Taiwan dollars every year, the NPP said.

Asked whether the proposed amendments would be associated with Taiwanese independence and upset China, Huang said domestic reform has to be undertaken independent of other nations’ opinions, even though attaining international recognition is an important step toward the normalization of Taiwan.

NPP Legislator Freddy Lim (林昶佐) said no politician, regardless of their affinity, would be willing to sacrifice Taiwan’s democracy, liberty and human rights, and no one would accept China’s interference in Taiwan’s constitutional reform.

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