Sun, Jun 29, 2003 - Page 3 News List

Referendum to skirt sovereignty: DPP

DIRECT DEMOCRACY In a four-point statement, the party said constitutional changes and national sovereignty should not be dealt with when the country holds referendums


Two DPP lawmakers unveiled the party's plan for referendum legislation yesterday, one day after the pan-blue parties vowed to accelerate passage of a referendum law.

"The party will launch a special squad next week to push for the referendum legislation. Meanwhile, DPP members will visit their opposition counterparts and urge each party to conclude a draft bill that they are to present at the extraordinary session at an early date," DPP Legislator Chen Chin-de (陳金德) said.

Chen said the party's stance contains four points.

"The law, either to be called the referendum law or the initiative and referendum law, is unnecessary to cope with issues that will involve a change of sovereignty," Chen said of the first point.

A referendum conducted under the auspices of the referendum law must not deal with constitutional amendments, he said.

This point was made because the Constitution trumps any statutory referendum result, Chen said.

But he said that his party believes a referendum on legislative reform may be an exception to this condition. Chen said a referendum on legislative reform is the party's third point.

"The ruling party believes that a referendum to express people's desire for legislative reform should greatly help the government attain the goal of reforming the legislature, which includes halving the number of seats and overhauling the electoral system," Chen said.

The party's fourth point, Chen said, is that a framework should be developed for holding an advisory referendum.

While Chen announced the DPP's four points in a press conference yesterday, his fellow DPP Legislator Jao Yung-ching (趙永清) reminded blue camp that the legislature must pass referendum legislation with exactitude.

"Referendum legislation cannot be completed in haste since lawmakers need to engage in comprehensive studies and research on referendum practice before formulating the law," said Jao, a longtime supporter of referendum legislation.

Jao said the DPP will present a final draft bill as its version for the extraordinary legislative session. Four draft bills, including one drafted by the Executive Yuan and three from lawmakers, were presented from the ruling party so far.

"The final one will base upon ideas presented by the Executive Yuan," Jao said at yesterday's news conference.

Jao said he was worried about the oppositions' vow to finalize the law next month and implement a referendum in August.

"The pan-blue lawmakers' rush hardly persuades me that they are aware of the importance of drafting the referendum law," Jao said.

According to pan-blue lawmakers, the DPP is using the referendum issue to further its presidential campaign.

KMT Legislator Huang Teh-fu (黃德福) said by holding referendums in August, ahead of the presidential election, the DPP will be held to account for the result.

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