Mon, Jul 28, 2003 - Page 3 News List

TSU poll reveals majority supports national plebiscite

CNA , TAIPEI

More than half of the respondents to a recent opinion poll support the holding of a referendum on Taiwan's future status, the TSU said yesterday.

The TSU legislative caucus conducted a telephone survey of randomly chosen adults from July 15 to July 20 to explore their opinions about referendum legislation and other related topics. A total of 1,095 valid replies were collected, with a margin of error of 3 percent.

According to the poll results, 68 percent of the respondents said they support the enactment of a referendum bill to pave the way for the holding of referendums. As to the title of the proposed legislation, 46.94 percent said it should be dubbed "the referendum law," while 20.64 percent said they would prefer to see it designated as the "initiative and referendum law."

The DPP administration is planning to hold a landmark referendum before or on the day of the next presidential election -- March 20 next year -- to decide whether construction of a controversial half-completed nuclear power plant should be scrapped or continued.

The TSU poll found that 57.16 percent of the respondents gave a thumbs-up to the proposal that a referendum be held to decide whether Taiwan should declare independence or unify with China, while 34.24 percent said they oppose such a proposal.

If a referendum on changing the nation's official designation from the Republic of China to Taiwan were to be held, 46.21 percent said they would support the proposal, but a roughly equal 44.1 percent gave a thumbs-down to the idea.

Asked if the Legislative Yuan should fail to complete referendum legislation during its next session scheduled to open in September, 57.35 percent said they would back a Cabinet plan to formulate a provisional package of regulations to lay a framework for holding a "consultative referendum" to deliver on President Chen Shui-bian's (陳水扁) campaign promise. Nevertheless, 31.51 percent said they would oppose the proposal.

Seventy-three percent said they support the holding of referendums on major public construction projects, but 18 percent said they are opposed to holding such referendums.

Meanwhile, 57.45 percent endorsed a proposal to hold a consultative referendum on Taiwan's bid to join the World Health Organization on the day of the next presidential election even if the legislature fails to pass a referendum bill, while 32.23 gave a negative reply.

Analyzing the poll results, TSU Deputy Secretary-General Chen Hung-chi (陳鴻基) said holding referendums on major policy issues or public construction projects has become mainstream public opinion.

"Since referendum is a basic civil right prescribed in our Constitution, the legislature should not continue stonewalling the passage of a referendum bill," Chen said.

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