Thu, Aug 05, 2004 - Page 3 News List

Debate on propriety of holding elections on Dec. 11 goes on

By Debby Wu  /  STAFF REPORTER

The dispute over the scheduled date for the upcoming legislative elections continued yesterday, as the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) legislative caucus called for the head of the Central Election Commission (CEC) chairman. The Democratic Progressive Party (DPP), too, began to show divisions over the issue.

The KMT caucus yesterday denounced CEC chairman Chang Cheng-hsiung (張政雄) for calling a top DPP official to confirm the DPP's opinion about the date issue and demanded Chang Cheng-hsiung to step down.

"If Chang Cheng-hsiung does not resign, the KMT caucus will demand that Premier Yu Shyi-kun fire him," KMT caucus whip Huang Teh-fu (黃德福) said.

Huang reiterated that the tentative election date of Dec. 11 was designated to promote the DPP's campaign, as Dec. 10 was the 25th anniversary of the Kaohsiung Incident.

Chang defended himself yesterday, saying he called the DPP official only to confirm that he interpreted the DPP's answer to the date change correctly. The DPP sent a written statement to the CEC earlier, saying the party would simply follow the CEC's decision.

"Dec. 11 has been set by the commissioners, and the commission will not change the date casually," Chang said.

Meanwhile, the DPP yesterday said it would respect and follow the CEC's decision on the date.

"The CEC made the decision about the date on May 5, and we have written back to say we will respect and follow the decision," DPP Deputy Secretary-General Chung Chia-pin (鍾佳濱) said.

"The CEC is an independent agency, and its decisions are based upon the consensus of its commissioners," Chung said.

"The DPP and other major parties should respect and follow the commission's decisions," Chung said.

But some DPP legislators begged to differ yesterday, suggesting the election date be rescheduled for after Dec. 31, when the legislature goes into recess.

"The election should take place after the legislature goes into recess, because in the past when the election was held in early December, the legislature had to go into recess one month earlier than the scheduled time. This affects the time available for legislators to make and amend laws," DPP Legislator Lin Cho-shui (林濁水) said.

"Between Dec. 1 and Feb. 1 -- the date when new legislators take their oath of office -- there are plenty of days to choose from for the election. Yet the CEC will only delay the election by one week, arousing suspicion," Lin said.

"This is a poor performance by the CEC, and it is making people wonder what the heck the CEC is doing," Lin said.

DPP Legislator Hong Chi-chang (洪奇昌), who, like Lin, is also a member of the New Tide faction (新潮流), also wrote in a local Chinese daily yesterday expressing similar opinions.

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