Sat, Jul 19, 2003 - Page 3 News List

PFP request for censure adds fuel to referendum fire

By Sandy Huang  /  STAFF REPORTER

Opposition KMT and PFP legislative caucuses yesterday asked the Control Yuan to investigate whether the Executive Yuan and Premier Yu Shyi-kun have conducted themselves improperly in insisting on the right to hold consultative referendums without a referendum law on the books.

"Without a basis set down in a referendum law, the Executive Yuan's persistence in holding a consultative referendum would be ... a serious violation of the Constitution," PFP spokesman Huang Yih-jiau (黃義交) said.

While the referendum bill has been shelved until the next legislative session, the Cabinet on Thursday made public enforcement measures for the Executive Yuan to hold referendums in the event that legislation governing referendums cannot be passed by the legislature in time.

Citing a constitutional right of the people to initiative referendums, the Cabinet said the enforcement measures comply with the Administrative Procedure Law (行政程序法).

In disagreement, PFP legislative caucus deputy convener Chiu Yi (邱毅) charged both the Executive Yuan and Premier Yu of "being autocratic and defying laws."

"While we PFP supports referendums, it must be done with a legal basis," Chiu said.

"We think to decide to hold a referendum on the basis of an administrative order is autocratic and it shows no respect for the Constitution," he said.

In their request for censure by the Control Yuan, the opposition legislative caucuses are accusing the administration, and Yu in particular, of improper conduct in office with regard to the holding of consultative referendums, said KMT legislative whip Liu Cheng-hung (劉政鴻).

"If the government is now to push for a referendum without a referendum law in place, how chaotic would Taiwan soon become?" said KMT Legislator Liao Feng-teh (廖風德).

Liao added that it would be a "great waste" of public money if what the government gets merely asks a question for consultative reference. Such types of referendums have no teeth and simply gather public opinion he said.

According to Cabinet Spokesman Lin Chia-lung (林佳龍), it would cost the government an estimated NT$300 million to NT$500 million to hold a referendum. The money could come from either the Cabinet's emergency fund or the annual budget of the government agency proposing the referendum.

The measures, drafted by Minister without Portfolio Hsu Chih-hsiung (許志雄), stipulate that the Cabinet shall set up a referendum review committee to scrutinize the issues for referendums and implement any plans put forth thereafter.

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