Pan-blue legislators yesterday said they will not approve the bill for the purchase of Patriot missile batteries because the referendum held last year in tandem with the presidential poll was a public "veto" of the purchase.
"President Chen Shui-bian (
"According to the Referendum Law (
The Referendum Law stipulates that any item put to a referendum, after being approved or rejected, can't be put to public vote again for three years. Last year's referendum was declared invalid.
Su said he asked Minister of National Defense Lee Jye (
People First Party (PFP) Legislator Chang Hsien-yao (
Lee responded that the ministry did not want to jump into political waters.
"Regardless of the result of the referendum, the ministry would continue to promote the establishment of Patriot missiles for national security," Lee said.
The original NT$480 billion (US$15 billion) special arms procurement bill was designed to purchase three major weapons systems from the US -- eight diesel-electric submarines, 12 P-3C Orion maritime-patrol aircraft and three PAC-3 Patriot anti-missile batteries.
The ministry has proposed transferring NT$133 billion of the budget -- for three batteries of PAC-3 missiles -- to the regular defense budget.
Last year's referendum failed to get the number of voters necessary to make the result valid. Only 45.17 percent of eligible voters took part. The law requires at least 50 percent of those eligible cast votes to make it valid.
The referendum question asked voters to answer yes or no on two questions, one of which referred to boosting missile defenses.
Among the valid ballots, 6,511,216 people voted yes, with 581,413 voting no, or 11 to one in favor of the question.