Tue, Jul 22, 2003 - Page 3 News List

Cabinet forms task force to prepare for referendums

PLAN B If the legislature fails to pass a referendum law, then a special team will draft a package of rules governing how the public votes are held

CNA , TAIPEI

Premier Yu Shyi-kun said yesterday the Cabinet has formed a special task force to pave the way for holding referendums on major public issues.

Yu said he has appointed Minister without Portfolio Hsu Chih-hsiung (許志雄) to head the special team which is authorized to draft a package of rules governing the holding of referendums in case the Legislative Yuan continues stonewalling the passage of a referendum bill in its new session which opens in September.

The premier further said the panel will join representatives from various private groups in promoting the holding of a referendum on several policy issues.

President Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁) announced late last month that his administration will hold a referendum on or before the day of the next presidential election -- March 20, next year -- to clear up the longstanding controversy over whether to abandon construction of the Fourth Nuclear Power Plant or continue the project.

According to the draft referendum package initiated by Hsu, a referendum can be held simultaneously with a national election.

But Yu didn't mention yesterday whether a referendum on the power plant will take place on the same day as the presidential election.

Instead, Yu said it remains the Cabinet's top priority to push the legislature to complete referendum legislation in September to provide a solid legal basis for holding a referendum on or before the March 20 poll on certain policy issues, including the power plant as well as the nation's bid to join the World Health Assembly and the downsizing of the Legislative Yuan.

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