Thu, Nov 22, 2007 - Page 3 News List

KMT slams CEC over threat to withhold poll budget

By Mo Yan-chih  /  STAFF REPORTER

The Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) and 18 pan-blue local government heads yesterday reaffirmed their commitment to adopting the "two-step voting" system used in the 2004 presidential election and warned the Central Election Committee (CEC) against breaking the law by cutting election budgets.

Accompanied by 18 pan-blue local government heads, KMT Chairman Wu Poh-hsiung (吳伯雄) accused the CEC of causing conflict and confusion by ignoring public opinion and insisting on the "one-step voting" system.

"The two-step voting system is legal and reasonable. In order to make the election procedure run smoothly, the KMT will insist on the two-step voting system," Wu said at KMT headquarters after meeting with local government heads to discuss the issue.

The CEC announced last Friday that ballots for the Jan. 12 legislative elections and two referendums will be handed out together at the entrance to polling stations.

In response to the CEC's remarks that it will not provide subsidies to local governments that refused to adopt the one-step voting system, KMT Secretary-General Wu Den-yi (吳敦義) said the commission's budget for the next fiscal year was allocated in accordance with the two-step voting system, and that the committee would be violating the law if it refused to give local governments money for the elections.

During the 2004 presidential election -- the first time a referendum and a national election were held simultaneously -- the ballots were handed out separately.

Taipei Mayor Hau Lung-bin (郝龍斌) joined Wu in condemning the commission for using the budget to pressure local governments and urged the government not to use its administrative power to interfere with local election affairs.

"We are here today to defend the democratic system and a fair electoral system," Hau said.

"As local government heads, we will not allow any confusion or chaos when votes are cast," he said.

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