Sun, Feb 01, 2004 - Page 3 News List

Legislator suggests emergency decree before referendum

CNA , TAIPEI

The newly promulgated Referen-dum Law (公民投票法) should be amended so that the president would have to issue an emergency decree before invoking his power to call a referendum, independent lawmaker Su Yin-kuei (蘇盈貴) said yesterday.

In an attempt to end the dispute between the ruling Democratic Progressive Party and the two major opposition parties -- the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) and the People First Party -- Su said he is seeking sponsors for a motion in the legislature to make the issuance of an emergency decree by the president a precondition for allowing him to initiate a referendum. At present, the Referendum Law empowers the president to call a referendum "when the country is faced with an emergency which threatens its sovereignty."

Noting that the president's power to call a referendum was created in step with his constitutional power to issue an emergency decree, Su said it is only natural that the president should have to issue an emergency decree before calling for a referendum.

Under the Constitution, an emer-gency decree must be issued by the president during legislative recess in accordance with a Cabinet resolution to cope with emergencies that must be presented to the legislature for confirmation within a month.

As the declaration of an emergency decree might disrupt the March 20 presidential election, the legislator said, the president should carefully calculate the possible political consequences of his actions.

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