Wed, Jun 13, 2007 - Page 3 News List

Group calls on lawmakers to support electoral veto

PROTEST VOTE A civic group urged the legislature to approve amendments that would give the public the right to vote for `none of the above' during elections

By Ko Shu-ling  /  STAFF REPORTER

A civic advocacy group yesterday urged the legislature to approve amendments to the election code that would give voters the choice of vetoing candidates in upcoming elections.

The legislature's Procedure Committee yesterday agreed to send the legal revisions to the Public Service Election and Recall Law (公職人員選舉罷免法) to Friday's plenary session for first reading.

However, the committee will have little time to review the revisions as the legislature is set to go into recess on Saturday.

Chien Hsi-chieh, founder of the Civic Front supporting the change, said the group still hoped the legislature would pass the bill by October so that it would apply to the legislative elections in January.

"We will urge voters to dump political parties or individuals who boycott bills during the legislative process," he said.

If the bill passes the legal hurdle and the practice is well received, the group will push for the same amendment to the President and Vice President Election and Recall Law (總統副總統選舉罷免法), allowing voters to veto presidential candidates, Chien said.

The group supports an amendment to Article 60 of the Public Service Election and Recall Law, which would allow the printing of one more choice on the ballot sheet -- none of the above.

Chien argued that in a mature society, the right to vote should reflect pluralistic opinions.

The purpose of the change is to encourage healthier competition among political parties, push them to reform and select better candidates and give voters better alternatives, he said.

The group also supports revisions to Article 65, which would disqualify the winning candidate if his or her vote tally fell below the number cast for the "none of the above" option, as well as ban the same candidate from running in the by-election.

The winner of the by-election would be the candidate who receives the highest number of votes, which need not exceed the votes cast for the "none of the above" option.

Chien said swing voters tend to be indifferent to politics because they have little choice but to pick between "two rotten apples."

Offering the electorate the alternative to vote against candidates they deem to be unqualified would encourage swing voters to come out and vote, he said.

"I'm calling on swing voters to unite and make their voices heard in the legislative election," he said. "It is time to use your ballot to teach these spoiled parties a lesson."

Chien launched a similar campaign in the 1995 legislative election and successfully persuaded the electorate to dump seven out of the 11 candidates they had urged voters to abandon.

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