Sun, May 25, 2003 - Page 3 News List

DPP lawmakers keen to pass WHO referendum draft

LEGISLATIVE MOVES The proposal is expected to face oppostion from pan-blue legislators who believe a referendum law is not wanted or needed

By Fiona Lu  /  STAFF REPORTER

DPP lawmakers will endorse a referendum proposal by pushing for a legislative review of a draft bill in Wednesday's Home and Nations Committee, a DPP legislator said yesterday.

"The DPP caucus will mobilize its members for Wednesday's review and endeavor to take the referendum draft closer to clearing the legislative floor," said DPP Legislator Yeh Yi-jin (葉宜津), a legislative committee convener.

Yeh said the oppositions' stance would be key in deciding whether the draft bill advances.

The Home and Nations Committee set up an agenda for reviewing the referendum law on Wednesday, two months after the legislature failed to finish a first review due to objections from pan-blue lawmakers.

KMT and PFP lawmakers believe a referendum law is a back door to independence.

Yeh's remarks revealed a legislative endorsement of President Chen Shui-bian's (陳水扁) plea for a referendum to demonstrate the nation's determination to become a WHO member.

The Executive Yuan on Friday said that it is studying the possibility of hosting an advisory referendum next March on a decision to file for WHO membership.

The DPP legislative caucus reiterated an effort to expedite the bill's passage.

"The DPP hopes to finalize the referendum law this session by calling inter-party negotiations," said DPP legislative caucus whip Chen Chi-mai (陳其邁).

But the PFP made it clear that it would not green light the proceeding draft.

"The PFP will oppose the referendum draft but we are considering support for the initiation and recall law with conditions after presenting our own version of the latter," said PFP legislative caucus whip Chung Shao-ho (鍾紹和).

The KMT caucus announced reservations about a plebiscite.

"The DPP government has confused the public by focusing on the referendum issue," KMT caucus whip Tseng Yung-chuan (曾永權) said.

"The fight against SARS and an economic revival are commonly seen as the most urgent issues the administration needs to cope with at present," he said.

TSU Legislator Chen Chien-ming (陳建銘), another convener of the Home and Nations Committee, predicted a pan-blue boycott of Wednesday's bill review, but said he had confidence in referendum proposal.

"The advisory referendum is practical ... and will meet the goal of discerning public opinion," he said.

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