Wed, Jul 09, 2003 - Page 3 News List

Poll supports session, referendums

KEY ISSUES A recent government survey found widespread backing for the special legislative session as well as referendums on the WHO bid and a new nuclear plant

By Ko Shu-ling  /  STAFF REPORTER WITH CNA

Representatives of the Alliance to Campaign for Rectifying the Name of Taiwan protest in front of the Legislative Yuan yesterday, demanding that lawmakers pass a proposed referendum law as soon as possible and that a referendum be held on changing the name of the country.

PHOTO: CHIANG YING-YING, TAIPEI TIMES

More than half of the people surveyed in a recent opinion poll by the Research, Development and Evaluation Commission said they approved of the Legislative Yuan holding a special three-day session to review six key economic bills. A majority of respondents also favored holding referendums on major public policies.

The telephone survey of 1,084 adults found that 55 percent of respondent approved of the legislature's convening an additional session to review the six bills, while 17 percent said they were against the idea.

As for referendums, 55 percent of the respondents said that they approved of empowering the people to decide the fate of public policies via a popular vote, 24 percent said they did not.

Regarding the best time to hold a referendum on the fate of the Fourth Nuclear Power Plant, 21 percent of respondents said that a referendum should be held before the presidential election next March, while 17 percent said should be held after that election, 13 percent said it should coincide with the election and 21 percent said they did not support the idea of a referendum on the issue.

As President Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁) has pledged to hold a referendum on the nation's bid to join the World Health Organization on or before next March's election, 25 percent of respondents said that it would be better to hold such a vote before the election and 15 percent said after the election would be better. Fourteen percent said they did not approve of a referendum on the issue.

As for holding a referendum on downsizing the Legislative Yuan, 26 percent of respondents said the best time for such a vote would be before next March's election, 18 percent after the election and 17 percent said it should coincide with the election. Eight percent did not support the downsizing plan.

The commission's survey was conducted between June 30 and July 1.

In related news, several mem-bers of the Alliance to Campaign for Rectifying the Name of Taiwan staged a sit-in in front of the Legislative Yuan yesterday to publicize their "Call Taiwan Taiwan" movement and their demand for a nationwide referendum on the official name of the country.

The sit-in coincided with the start of the legislature's three-day extraordinary session.

The referendum bill, along with six economic and finance-related bills, are on the agenda for the special session.

The fate of the bill is up in the air after the DPP and opposition parties broke off consultations about the bill on Monday.

Wang Hsien-chi (王獻極), executive director of the alliance, said that since the group began promoting the movement for people to identify with Taiwan more than a year ago, it has won support from over 100 groups around the country.

Wang reminded reporters that the movement had planned to hold a rally on May 11 but had to delay the event due to the SARS outbreak. The group is now planning to mobilize 100,000 people to march to the Presidential Office on Sept. 6.

Wang said that "Call Taiwan Taiwan" will mobilize its support groups to take part in a 60-hour sit-in starting yesterday to call for a referendum on the rectification of the country's official name.

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