Wed, Apr 07, 2004 - Page 3 News List

Pan-blues want task-force referendum

TRUTH COMMISSION The political alliance said if the ruling party did not establish a law permitting an investigation into the president's shooting, it would be forced to act

By Huang Tai-lin  /  STAFF REPORTER

The Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT)-People First Party (PFP) alliance yesterday said that the alliance would lead the public to initiate a referendum, should President Chen Shui-bian's (陳水扁) administration remain unresponsive to the alliance's call to form a legislative committee of inquiry into the assassination attempt on Chen.

"If there is no formal response from President Chen Shui-bian by April 10 concerning the establishment of the special law, the KMT-PFP alliance will then initiate a petition to hold a referendum by May 20 [the day of the presidential inauguration] demanding the establishment of an investigation committee to look into the facts surrounding the whole shooting incident," KMT spokesman Alex Tsai (蔡正元) said at a press conference at the party's national headquarters yesterday.

During the attack on Chen on the eve of the election, bullets grazed Chen's stomach and hit Vice President Annette Lu's (呂秀蓮) knee when the pair was engaged in a street procession in Tainan on March 19.

Chen defeated the joint ticket of KMT Chairman Lien Chan (連戰) and PFP Chairman James Soong (宋楚瑜) in the March 20 election by a margin of less than 30,000 votes.

Lien refused to concede defeat and, claiming voting irregularities, filed a lawsuit demanding a recount. Lien also raised questions about the shooting incident, claiming that the launch of the national security mechanism following the shooting had prevented a large number of military personnel from voting. The MND has since denied such claims.

"If the government refuses the alliance's call to assemble the `truth investigation commission,' it means the government is guilty," said Tsai.

Tsai added that in the meanwhile the alliance would also push for a special law to be passed and enacted in the Legislative Yuan to provide a legal basis for the establishment of the committee and empower it with the authority to carry out the necessary investigation.

To ensure the neutrality of the "truth investigation committee" transcends party lines and has no conflicts of interest, Tsai said the committee could be formed with Control Yuan President Frederick Chien (錢復) as the convener, aswell as 10 individuals including four Control Yuan members, State Public Prosecutor-General Lu Jen-fa (盧仁發) and five legislators from across party lines.

The pan-blue camp is slated to stage a mass demonstration Saturday on Ketagalan Boulevard to push for its call for its causes. Tsai yesterday said that the alliance would reconsider the option of canceling the demonstration if Chen responds the alliance's calls with goodwill.

"If the government however insists on blocking [the alliance's] proposals, then a higher level of resistance and demonstration would be the only way left to go," said Tsai.

In response to the pan-blue camp's call, Premier Yu Shyi-kun, noting that the creation of such a committee does not comply with the constitutional principle of division of power for the five-branch government system, criticized the alliance's desire to create an "unconstitutional" committee.

"Taiwan is a democratic country ruled by laws," said Yu. "The KMT-PFP alliance's demand of the government to assemble a multiparty `truth investigation committee' does not fit with the constitutional system, but does raise the concern of conflicting with the Constitution."

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