Fri, Jul 20, 2007 - Page 3 News List

DPP lawmakers vote to maintain separate elections

STAFF WRITER , WITH CNA

An overwhelming majority of Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) legislators have voted to back the decision of the Central Election Commission (CEC) to hold two major elections separately, caucus whip Wang Tuoh (王拓) said yesterday.

Wang said that during a vote held by the DPP caucus, only three DPP legislators said they wanted to persuade the CEC to reverse its decision.

The CEC recently set the date for legislative elections on Jan. 12 and presidential elections on March 22. The commission said it made the decision because neither the DPP or the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) had expressed any preferences.

DPP Legislator Wang Sing-nan (王幸男), who would like the two polls to be held together, said yesterday he recently surveyed his DPP colleagues and found that 45 legislators supported combining the two elections, compared with 26 opposed.

Wang Sing-nan suggested that the joint election proposal be submitted to the CEC for reference in the hope that the commission would reverse its decision.

His suggestion was voted down after heated debate, Wang Tuoh said.

On Monday, the KMT caucus asked the CEC to reconsider its decision to hold the two elections separately.

KMT caucus whip Hsu Shao-ping (徐少萍) said that combining the two polls would save the government at least NT$1 billion (US$30.5 million).

Holding two major elections in two months might affect the smooth proceeding of state affairs and lead to greater social upheaval, she said.

If the cost savings could allow the government to do something "worthy," it should not "waste it for [DPP presidential candidate Frank] Hsieh's sake," KMT Legislator Lee Jih-chu (李紀珠) said.

KMT lawmakers have blamed Hsieh for the CEC's change of decision after he allegedly said he favored holding separate polls.

As a majority of the 16 CEC commissioners responded negatively last Friday to the body's inquiry on July 11 on whether they were willing to meet again to discuss the issue, the CEC said it would stick to its decision to hold separate elections.

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