Thu, May 01, 2003 - Page 2 News List

Cabinet OKs election changes

MILESTONEIn what's being called an important development for democracy, the new law would formally allow different parties to field joint candidates in elections

By Ko Shu-ling  /  STAFF REPORTER

The Executive Yuan has approved a bill to legalize joint presidential tickets by candidates from different political parties and at the same time moved to spare elected presidents from being recalled until they had been in office for at least one year.

Yesterday, the Cabinet approved the amendments to the Presidential and Vice Presidential Election and Recall Law (總統副總統選舉罷免法) and will now send the draft bill to the Legislature for further review and final approval.

Addressing the press conference held after the weekly closed-door Cabinet meeting yesterday morning, Cabinet Spokesman Lin Chia-lung (林佳龍) said that the changes, if approved by the Legislature, would mark an important milestone in the nation's development of democratic politics.

"Responding to the situation in partisan politics and public opinion, the amendments approved today are designed to make the competition among political parties healthier and their relationship more harmonious," Lin quoted Premier Yu Shyi-kun as saying.

Under the draft amendments to the law, two or more political parties would be allowed to field joint candidates if they could together produce a letter of recommendation letter from their parties.

At present, the law does not specify whether or not candidates from different parties can run on a joint ticket.

Under the law, convicted criminals, drug addicts and serial criminals would be banned from running in the election, as would those awaiting a death sentence, life in prison, or a prison sentence of 10 years or more.

Those undergoing the reformatory education program would be prohibited from running until 10 years after they have completed the program.

To ensure political stability, the elected candidate would not be subject to a recall until one year into his or her four-year term.

Under the new law, one fourth of the total number of lawmakers would be required to initiate a proposal to recall the president or vice president. In order for the recall to be succesful, two thirds of legislators would have to agree.

If the proposal fails to pass in the legislature, such a proposal would not be allowed again during the four-year tenure.

The draft would also allow the parties fielding a joint ticket to share financial resources to fund the campaign.

Parties on a joint ticket would both be eligible for the NT$30 per vote subsidy that each party taking part in an election gets, if they jointly claim the sum.

The subsidy would return to the state coffers if the two parties failed to claim the amount three months after the result is announced.

Foreigners -- including residents from China, Hong Kong or Macau -- ? would be banned from stumping, distributing or posting flyers, holding press conferences or conducting interviews to promote the candidates.

Political parties would be prohibited from releasing surveys on the candidates and distributing, commenting or citing poll results in the 10 days leading up to election day.

Should there be any litigation involved after the election, all votes and candidates' biographical information should be kept for three more months after the verdict is reached.

Should an elected candidate die, a new election should be held three months after the Central Election Commission (中選會) receives the death certificate.

Those providing candidates, potential candidates, eligible voters with financial reward or other unlawful benefits in return for their forsaking their election bid or engaging in certain campaign activities would face a sentence of between three and 10 years and a fine of between NT$2 million and NT$20 million.

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