Fri, Jun 08, 2007 - Page 3 News List

Chairman of CEC defends decision on election schedule

By Max Hirsch  /  STAFF REPORTER

Central Election Commission (CEC) Chairman Chang Cheng-hsiung (張政雄) defended the commission's decision to schedule the legislative elections for Jan. 12 next year, as pan-blue lawmakers assailed him with conspiracy theories in a legislative committee yesterday.

The commission had announced last Friday that the next legislative elections would be held on Jan. 12, citing the Public Service Election and Recall Law (公職人員選舉罷免法), which states that elections for the next legislative session must finish at least ten days before the present session expires on Jan. 31 next year.

Commencing the next round of elections on Jan. 12, commission spokesman Teng Tien-you (鄧天祐) had said, would ensure they would be completed by Jan. 21.

scheming

Pan-blue lawmakers have slammed the commission for not consulting them on the date, claiming the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) and commission are conniving to manipulate election results by pushing the election dates as far back as legally possible.

Quizzing Chang in the Home and Nations legislative committee yesterday, Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) Legislator Ting Shou-chung (丁守中) fired another conspiracy theory at Chang -- that pushing back the legislative elections to January at the pan-green camp's behest gives them more time to collect signatures for referendums, which in turn could impact on election results in a way that favors the DPP.

"Legislator," Chang replied, "the date was selected so that elections wouldn't interfere with civil service and academic examinations, and could avoid business holidays."

The commission is also required to announce the legislative election dates six months before they happen, Chang said.

tight-lipped

Asked if the legislative and presidential elections would be held together, Chang remained tightlipped, saying that the next CEC session, which begins next month, would decide that matter.

The current CEC session expires on June 26.

The DPP is planning referendums on sensitive matters pertaining to cross-strait issues for both the legislative and presidential elections in order to influence their outcomes, Ting alleged.

The referendums, he said, would further mobilize pan-green voters for both elections, giving pan-green candidates an edge.

The lawmaker did not back up his accusations with any evidence.

The DPP and commission have yet to definitely announce any upcoming referendums.

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