Sat, Sep 23, 2006 - Page 3 News List

KMT proposes plebiscite on graft

By Shih Hsiu-chuan  /  STAFF REPORTER

Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) legislators show signatures supporting an ``anti-corruption'' referendum at a press conference yesterday.

PHOTO: LIU HSIN-DE, TAIPEI TIMES

Taking aim at President Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁) over his alleged graft, Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) lawmakers yesterday sent a petition for an "anti-corruption" referendum to the government for review yesterday, saying that they had surpassed the 130,000 signatures needed for a formal proposal.

"The referendum is for authorizing the legislature to investigate the head of the country and officials suspected of corruption," Tseng Yung-chuan (曾永權), the head of the KMT's policy coordination department, told a press conference.

Tseng said that the public has the right to ask policymakers to take responsibility for actions that benefit them and their cronies but are bad for the country.

Tsai Chin-lung (蔡錦隆), the KMT legislative caucus whip, said that the signature drive was initiated by former Finance Minister Wang Chien-shien and supported by 138,158 people.

According to the law, some 83,000 signatures are needed to propose a national referendum, while actually holding a referendum vote requires the signatures of 5 percent of all eligible voters -- now 825,000 people -- a number that should be reached within six months.

The Central Election Commission is required to review the petition within 15 days, after which the Executive Yuan's Referendum Review Committee makes a final decision on whether a national referendum is justified.

The KMT lawmakers said the referendum would ask the public: "Do you agree with enacting a law to investigate the president and his key staff regarding their policy errors that have caused great losses to the nation, and authorizing the legislature to form an investigative committee with which all government departments must cooperate in order to uphold the public interest, punish responsible officials and demand they return illicit gains to the state?"

The caucus of the People First Party (PFP), the KMT's pan-blue ally, was initially invited to attend the press conference, but they didn't show up.

"Holding a national referendum on the issue of `anti-corruption' would be meaningless as most people would agree with it. It would make more sense to hold a referendum on whether the president should be asked to step down," PFP Legislator Lee Hung-chun (李鴻鈞) said.

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