Tue, Jul 01, 2003 - Page 3 News List

Top DPP official reaffirms call for national plebiscite

TWO BIRDS, ONE STONE Lee Ying-yuan said that with 70 percent of the public backing plans for a referendum, it's time to move forward with reform

CNA , TAIPEI

The DPP responsibly advocates holding a referendum before next year's presidential election on a number of policies and issues concerning the people, a DPP official said yesterday.

DPP Deputy Secretary-General Lee Ying-yuan (李應元) said the DPP will see to it that a referendum is held before March next year to let the people vote on issues including the reform of the legislature, Taiwan's bid to join the World Health Organization as an observer, and the fate of the Fourth Nuclear Power Plant.

Noting that about 70 percent of the people in the country support holding referendums on major public policies, Lee said he believes that supporting referendums is equal to supporting reform.

On the issue of legislative reform, Lee noted that the DPP feels that the electoral system should be changed from the existing "single vote in multi-member districts" system -- which means one vote per citizen to choose several representatives in a constituency -- to a system of one seat in one constituency, but two ballots for each voter -- one for a candidate and one for a political party.

The number of seats in the legislature should be cut to between 150 and 160, which would be a little more than half the current 225, Lee added.

The DPP also thinks that legislators' terms of office should be extended from the current three years to four years, so that they are in sync with the term of the president, Lee said.

He went on to say that the DPP will also push for a repeal of the policy of selecting legislators among overseas Chinese and Taiwanese representatives recommended by various political parties.

Meanwhile, the KMT's legislative caucus said that once referendum legislation is completed, the KMT will first push for a public vote to cut the number of legislators by half, to about 113 seats.

Members of the PFP legislative caucus seconded the KMT's announcement shortly afterward, saying that it has been the PFP's standing policy to see a "leaner and meaner" legislature.

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