Tue, Feb 03, 2004 - Page 2 News List

Referendum topics headed to Cabinet for final approval

CNA , TAIPEI

The Presidential Office is scheduled to submit the two questions for the proposed referendum to the Executive Yuan later today for approval, sources from the Presidential Office said yesterday.

The Cabinet, in turn, is expected to give its approval tomorrow to the questions advocated by President Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁), paving the way for the referendum on March 20, the officials said.

Quoting Article 17 of the Referendum Law (公民投票法), the officials said Chen was empowered to call a referendum when the nation faced an obvious external threat to its sovereignty.

Chen announced on Jan. 16 that a "peace referendum" would be held in tandem with the March 20 presidential election to ask voters whether the government should further beef up its anti-missile defenses if Beijing refuses to remove hundreds of ballistic missiles aimed at the nation, and whether a mechanism should be established for negotiating a framework with Beijing for peaceful cross-strait exchanges.

It would take around 26 days for the country to be fully prepared for the "peace referendum," the officials said.

Since the referendum is being initiated by the president rather than the people, the process of initiation would be much shorter than the 60 to 80 days that would normally be required, Central Election Commission Chairman Huang Shih-cheng (黃石城) said last week.

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