Mon, May 30, 2005 - Page 3 News List

Poll reveals lack of confidence in constitutional vote

By Ko Shu-ling  /  STAFF REPORTER

Although most people are in favor of the constitutional amendment package passed by the legislature last August and think that it may pass the National Assembly, they are worried that some parties might abandon their original stance and block the historic process, a poll released yesterday showed.

Respondents also support a shorter assembly sitting, preferably five days or less (about 32 percent), but about 20 percent find six to 10 days also acceptable.

Nearly 80 percent of those polled said that they would vote if the public were eventually given the right to vote on constitutional amendments.

The survey, commissioned by the Institute for National Policy Research and conducted by Focus Survey Research (山水民意研究公司) on Friday and Saturday, found that 58 percent of respondents said they were in favor of halving legislative seats from the current 225 to 113 and adopting the "single-member district, two-vote" system for legislative elections.

Only 9 percent of respondents said they opposed the package and about 32 percent said they did not have any preference.

While 64 percent of the people polled said they agreed with abolishing the National Assembly and letting the people have the final say on constitutional amendments, about 11 percent said they disagreed and 25 percent did not have a preference.

When asked whether they thought the constitutional amendments would pass the National Assembly, 41 percent said yes, while 36 percent said no and 23 percent said they did not know.

Despite respondents' high expectations for the successful passage of the amendment package, they expressed apprehension over the ability of political parties or civic groups to prevent their assembly members from deviating from the party line.

While 22 percent of respondents said that they thought the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) was the most capable of making sure that its representatives abide by the party's position, nearly 23 percent said they thought that KMT assembly members were most likely to change their stance and block the constitutional amendments.

About 27 percent of respondents said they thought the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) would do the best job of making its assembly members toe the party line, while nearly 11 percent said that they were most worried about the DPP's assembly members defying the party's position.

Analyzing the results, Hsu Yung-ming (徐永明), a research fellow at the Research Center for Humanities and Social Sciences at Academia Sinica, said that they indicate the electorate's lack of confidence in political parties.

Lee Hsien-jen (李先仁), from the Taiwan Solidarity Union's (TSU) department of policy studies said that they reflected the future political landscape.

Confident that the constitutional amendments should pass, Lee predicted that the DPP and the KMT would become the two dominant political forces in the future.

As the People First Party (PFP) is facing the possibility of dissolving following PFP Chairman James Soong's (宋楚瑜) much-debated trip to China, the TSU stands a good chance of replacing the PFP as the nation's third largest party.

"In addition to continuing down the path of rewriting a new constitution and rectifying the national title, we plan to play a key role as a minority party and keep a safe distance from both the DPP and the KMT," Lee said.

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