Wed, May 18, 2005 - Page 3 News List

US official says elections a sign of democracy

CNA , WASHINGTON

The National Assembly elections on Saturday showed that Taiwan is a democracy in which the people are empowered to make the most important decisions on the conduct of the government, a US State Department official said on Monday.

The official added, however, that "our primary interest remains in maintaining peace and stability in the Taiwan Strait."

The Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) and the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) garnered 42.52 percent and 38.92 percent of the total vote in Saturday's election, gaining 127 and 117 seats, respectively, in the 300-seat ad hoc body that will be entitled to review a constitutional reform package passed by the Legislative Yuan last August.

Both the DPP and the KMT support the constitutional reform package, while the Taiwan Solidarity Union (TSU) and the People First Party (PFP) are against it. The TSU and the PFP won 21 and 18 seats, respectively.

Voter turnout was only 23.36 percent, a record low for an election in Taiwan.

The constitutional reform package includes halving the number of seats in the Legislative Yuan, adopting a "single seat, two votes" election system, and ensconcing public referendums as the only means for approving future constitutional amendments. The National Assembly will be dissolved after it completes its mission.

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