Wed, Nov 22, 2006 - Page 2 News List

KMT plans legal action against approval of asset vote

By Shih Hsiu-chuan  /  STAFF REPORTER

Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) lawmakers yesterday said the party would take legal action against the Cabinet's approval of a proposal calling for a referendum on forcing the KMT to return its stolen assets to the nation's coffers.

"The approval of the petition by the Cabinet's Appeal Review Committee, rather than the Referendum Review Commission, has violated procedural regulations and was thus unacceptable," KMT caucus whip Tsai Chin-lung (蔡錦隆) said.

After collecting 108,000 signatures on a petition backing the idea of a referendum, an alliance led by the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) submitted the petition to the "Referendum Review Commission" for screening on Sept. 4. As the commission failed to decide whether it would accept the petition by Nov. 4, one month after the petition was handed over, DPP Chairman Yu Shyi-kun filed a complaint with the Cabinet's Appeals Review Committee on Nov. 6, and it was approved on Monday.

The committee also accepted the petition, which means that the referendum will be held provided that 825,359 signatures are collected within six months.

"The Appeal Review Committee abused its power by approving the petition. It is totally beyond its jurisdiction. It should be severely condemned," KMT Legislator Joanna Lei (雷倩) said.

In accordance with the Referendum Law (公民投票法), the Referendum Review Commission is required to complete its review within 30 days after a petition is handed over. The commission decided on Nov. 3 that its 21 members would vote on whether to accept the petition this Friday.

Lei said it was ridiculous to hold the commission responsible for delaying the review as its members were appointed on Oct. 5, which was followed by a five-day national holiday.

"The commission held its first meeting on Oct. 13, when members chose the commissioner and decided that the review of the petition would start on Oct. 25," Lei said.

Yu on Nov. 6 filed a complaint with the Cabinet's Appeal Review Committee accusing the commission of idleness in failing to screen the petition by Nov. 4.

"The Referendum Law was enacted two years ago, but the government didn't establish the commission until recently. Wasn't that the government's idleness?" Lei said.

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