Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) Chairman Lien Chan (連戰) yesterday announced the KMT-People First Party (PFP) alliance will attempt hold referendums on five topics on March 20 -- the same day of the presidential election.
"We will hold national referendums on ethnic solidarity, national debt accumulation, educational reform, hikes in the National Health Insurance premium and Kaohsiung City's free trade harbor," Lien told the crowd at a campaign rally in Taoyuan County last night.
The rally was held to boost the election ticket of Lien and PFP Chairman James Soong (宋楚瑜) among the Hakka population in Taoyuan, Hsinchu and Miaoli.
Also at the event were Taipei Mayor Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) and Taoyuan County Commissioner Chu Li-lun (朱立倫), both of the KMT.
The DPP staged a rally in Taoyuan County the previous evening.
Elaborating on his referendum plans, Lien told his audience the alliance would mobilize referendum petitions of 1 million signatures for each of the first four issues and 100,000 signatures for the Kaohsiung harbor issue, for which voting would be confined to Kaohsiung residents.
"We want millions of people to stand up and take part in the referendums to speak up for the nation's poor, strive for the nation's education, no debt for our future generations and reconciliation of the nation's ethnic groups," Lien said.
According to the newly passed Referendum Law (公民投票法), referendums can be held on the same date as national elections, including the presidential elec-tion. The law prohibits the government from proposing a referendum and stipulated that a successful referendum petition needs the signatures of 0.5 percent of the electorate joining in the latest presidential election before it can be screened by an ad hoc referendum supervisory committee.
Responding to Lien's referendum topics, Premier Yu Shyi-kin said yesterday that "the distinguishing feature in [Lien's] call for the referendums is such that Chairman Lien is trying to clear the accounts left by former premier Lien."
"Everybody knows that more than 90 percent of the government's debt was left by the former KMT government," Yu said.