Tue, Jun 03, 2003 - Page 4 News List

Referendum can be separate from election, DPP says

CNA , TAIPEI

A referendum on the fate of the Fourth Nuclear Power Plant and Taiwan's bid to enter the World Health Organization (WHO) need not necessarily be held on the same day as the March 20, 2004 presidential election, a DPP official said yesterday.

DPP Deputy Secretary-General Lee Ying-yuan (李應元), , made the remarks after President Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁) instructed the Executive Yuan to hold a referendum to express Taiwan's will to join the WHO in a DPP Central Standing Committee meeting in May. Chen concurrently serves as DPP chairman.

The Executive Yuan then said that it would study holding a referendum for reference purposes on the WHO issue, and would not rule out a referendum on the fate of Fourth Nuclear Power Plant, currently under construction in Taipei County, on the same day of the presidential election.

Lee noted that Taiwan's joining the WHO is an issue that transcends politics and a referendum on the subject would be a way to convey the will of the nation's people to the world.

Lee said that the presidential election should be as simple as possible, and that the party does not favor linking a referendum with the election.

As for a referendum on the fate of the power plant, Lee said that the party has always wanted to have referendum, believing it to be a basic right of the people, notwithstanding the public's misunderstanding about the direct exercise of their civil rights.

Former DPP Chairman Lin I-hsiung (林義雄) had said that even if a referendum bill is not passed into a law, there should still be a referendum on the fate of nuclear power plant, and that whether the name is "consultative referendum" or something else, the government should implement the results of the vote to show respect to the basic rights of the people.

Lee said Lin had insisted that the expression of people's rights is more important than the passage of a public referendum law, as it will help deepen democracy in this country.

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