Sun, Sep 28, 2003 - Page 3 News List

Ma prefers polls to referenda to get public's opinion

By Jewel Huang  /  STAFF REPORTER

Taipei Mayor Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) said yesterday that the representative system of government is the norm in a democratic society, which cannot be replaced by a referendum.

Ma said that referenda are not the only means that the public can express their opinions.

"I think the public can express their opinion through marches, petitions and public opinion polls, which are more economical and effective," said Ma.

He added that public opinion basicallyshould be conveyed through the representative system of government.

"Referenda should be carried out only after the representative system of government can not be carried out," Ma said.

"This is how democracies have developed for the past 100 years," he said.

Ma, a stalwart of the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) declined to attend a seminar held by Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) which discussed the possibility of implementing a referendum in Taiwan yesterday, citing a prior commitment to speak at a seminar at Soochow University, which was scheduled half year ago.

Ma pointed out that it does not conflict with the Constitution for a local government to enact a referendum law based on the local autonomous law.

Ma said that he supported moves by local governments moves to enact their own referendum laws when the central government has delayed doing so.

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