High-ranking officials of the pan-blue parties inked a joint declaration yesterday, vowing that they would complete referendum legislation before next year's presidential election.
According to the joint declaration, the pan-blue alliance would engage in amending the ROC Constitution if Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) Chairman Lien Chan (
"The two parties will tackle the referendum legislation to honor people's right of initiative and referendum before the presidential election. We are also determined to carry out constitutional amendments after the election, revamping the Constitution according to the expectations of mainstream opinion," said KMT Secretary General Lin Fong-cheng (
The joint declaration was issued one day after the KMT and PFP presented their version of a referendum law, which would prevent the government taking the initiative to hold a referendum. It also stated that the referendum issue should be separated from the presidential election and excluded from being subject to a referendum virtually all of the controversial topics concerning national identity on which referendums have been suggested.
The pan-blue declaration was unveiled on the eve of a march in Kaohsiung today. Pan-green parties initiated the march in favor of referendum legislation and claimed that an expected 150,000 to 200,000 people would participate in the march.
"Representing the mainstream opinion, pan-blue lawmakers will institutionalize the practice of holding referendums, with the principle that a referendum must be initiated in accordance with the Constitution and should only be held if asked for by the people," Lin said.
Opposing the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) and the Taiwan Solidarity Union's (TSU) goal to formulate a new constitution, the pan-blue parties said they would focus on solving the issue of minority government and the presidency, as well as lowering the voting age to 18 and further protecting the political participation of women, by overhauling the existing Constitution after the presidential election.
In response, DPP Legislator Chen Chi-mai (陳其邁) demanded a promise from the KMT-PFP alliance that pan-blue lawmakers would help to complete the formulation of a draft referendum law before Nov. 12, when cross-party negotiations on the issue are slated to finish.
"The KMT-PFP alliance should promise that they are really committed to formulating the referendum law by Nov. 12, or their presidential candidate should withdraw from the 2004 election," Chen said.
The pan-blue parties are notorious for breaking their promises about the legal formulation of political reform, Chen said.
The Legislative Yuan is expected to discuss two draft referendum bills, presented by the DPP and the pan-blue partiesrespectively , next week after lawmakers agreed yesterday to pass the DPP's version on to the second reading.
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