Leaders of the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT)-People First Party (PFP) alliance took their criticism of President Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁) to the heads of foreign missions in Taipei yesterday, claiming Chen's proposed referendum would provoke cross-strait instability.
KMT Chairman Lien Chan (連戰) said Article 17 of the Referendum Law (公民投票法) does not provide a legal basis for the March 20 vote, and questioned Chen's motive for holding the referendum.
Article 17 entitles the president to initiate a referendum on national security issues "whenever the country is faced by an external threat that could interfere with national sovereignty."
"The pan-blue alliance believes that the proposed referendum on March 20 is being used by the Democratic Progressive Party [DPP] administration to serve their electoral interests; that is, to mobilize the fundamentalists, on the one hand, and to provoke China, on the other," Lien said at a tea party at KMT headquarters.
The party was held to allow Lien and his running mate, PFP Chairman James Soong (
"The political intention of the DPP is so obvious that it has already stirred anxiety on the part of the international community," Lien said.
"If the DPP administration does not make a quick detour on this matter, it will be on a collision course with practically the whole world," he said.
Chen on Jan. 16 released the two questions that would be put to voters on March 20 alongside the presidential election.
The questions would ask people whether they support enhancing the nation's defensive capabilities should China refuse to withdraw the missiles it has targeted at Taiwan, as well as whether the government should hold talks with China on cross-strait peace and stability.
Soong told the dignitaries that "Chen's proposed referendum rocked the boat ... and makes a mockery of democracy."