Wed, Mar 03, 2004 - Page 3 News List

Chen meets with hunger-striker in show of support

By Debby Wu  /  STAFF REPORTER

President Chen Shui-bian, right, yesterday shakes hands with former Democratic Progressive Party chairman Lin Yi-hsiung outside the Legislative Yuan to show support for Lin's 240-hour hunger strike to push for halving the number of legislative seats.

PHOTO: YEH CHIH-MING, TAIPEI TIMES

President Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁) yesterday met former Democratic Progressive Party chairman Lin I-hsiung (林義雄) at the Legisla-tive Yuan to show support for Lin's hunger-strike for legislative reform.

On Monday, Lin launched a 240-hour relay hunger strike in front of the Legislative Yuan to urge lawmakers to halve the number of legislative seats.

The peaceful sit-down protest mainly includes opponents of the Fourth Nuclear Power Plant being built in Taipei County.

Chen met Lin yesterday morning and said that the former chairman had inspired him to push for the Referendum Law (公民投票法).

"Although we are not satisfied with the Referendum Law, it is still a big step," Chen said.

Chen also criticized the opposition for obstructing legislative reform.

"During the 2001 legislative election, everyone supported halving the legislative seats, but it has still not been passed yet," the president said.

"Although the legislature formed a constitutional amendment committee, it is still controlled by the opposition and the committee cannot form a consensus on the issue. Therefore the obstacle to legislative reform is the pan-blue camp," Chen said.

Lin also criticized the Referendum Law, saying the number of signatures needed to initiate a referendum was too high.

"The current Referendum Law does not allow the Executive Yuan to initiate a referendum, and social groups have to get 700,000 signatures to initiate one," the former chairman said.

"This Referendum Law is unreasonable and it should be amended," Lin said.

"We have also asked President Chen and the Executive Yuan to hold a referendum about the Fourth Nuclear Power Plant, and they have promised to hold one," Lin said.

"But the current Referendum Law has deprived the Executive Yuan of the right to hold the referendum, and if the Executive Yuan goes ahead with the referendum, then the premier will be jailed. This is an unreasonable law," Lin said.

"Plus, although the law regulates that a social group can start a petition for a referendum, it still has to get 700,000 signatures and no group in Taiwan right now can achieve that goal."

"As a social group, we should demand an unreasonable law to be amended instead of following it," he said.

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