Tue, Jul 17, 2007 - Page 2 News List

KMT calls on CEC to reconsider two separate elections

REASONS Legislative caucus whip Hsu Shao-ping argued the measure would save money, while Legislator Lee Jih-chu said it had majority support

STAFF WRITER , WITH CNA

The Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) legislative caucus yesterday asked the Central Election Commission (CEC) to reconsider its decision to hold two major elections separately.

KMT legislative caucus whip Hsu Shao-ping (徐少萍) issued the call during a Legislative Yuan news conference, arguing that combined polls would save the government at least NT$1 billion (US$30.5 million).

complication

She said that holding two major elections within two months could complicate state affairs and lead to social upheaval.

KMT Legislator Lee Jih-chu (李紀珠) said that several opinion surveys showed that more than 70 percent of respondents supported holding simultaneous elections.

Lee urged Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) presidential candidate Frank Hsieh (謝長廷) to join his KMT counterpart Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) in opposing the CEC's decision to hold separate elections.

free lunches

Lee said that NT$1 billion would allow the government to provide nutritious lunches free of charge for one year to some 140,000 school children who cannot afford to pay for school lunches, or would enable the government to provide Aboriginal school children with free lunches for more than two years.

If the saved money could allow the government to do something "worthy," Lee asked why sould the government "waste it for the sake of Hsieh."

blame

KMT lawmakers blamed Hsieh for the CEC's change of heart after he allegedly said that he favored holding the elections separately.

But although calls to reconsider the decision have come from DPP and KMT lawmakers alike, the CEC has maintained its decision to hold the elections separately.

The legislative elections are scheduled for Jan. 12 and the presidential poll for March 22 next year.

The CEC said it had made its decision before the DPP and KMT had expressed their preferences.

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