Passage of a regulation to allow for changes in election dates or poll station locations in the case of natural disasters or other "unavoidable causes" was postponed yesterday as Central Election Commission (CEC) members debated the wording.
"Although all [commission] members considered the regulation necessary and urgent ... we felt that we needed to create a special team" to examine the regulation first, CEC Secretary-General Teng Tien-yu (
The CEC has delegated the task to a five-member team, he said.
"We're trying to pass the regulation in accordance with a new amendment to the Election and Recall Law of Civil Servants [
The amendment, passed by the legislature last month, stipulates that local election commissions can change election dates with the CEC's approval if "an election cannot proceed because of a natural disaster or other unavoidable cause."
A clause under the article requires the commission to draw up a regulation to stipulate how an election postponement should be handled.
In the draft regulation, "natural disaster" has been defined as a severe typhoon, earthquake or flood that could prevent voters from traveling to poll stations or damage poll stations.
However, commission members disagreed over the meaning of the words "unavoidable cause."
CEC members recommended by the pan-blue camp said the regulation was too ambiguous.
"We need to define clearly what `unavoidable' means" said Liu Kuang-hua (
Chao Shu-chien (
Teng, on the other hand, said the phrase was legal terminology that "also appears in the Election and Recall Law [of Civil Servants]."
Liu, however, said: "What was not an issue in the past won't necessarily not become an issue."
Although no timetable has been set for passage of the regulation, the CEC will pass it "as soon as possible so that it will be in place before the legislative elections," Teng said.
Earlier yesterday, Legislative Speaker Wang Jin-pyng (
"It's necessary to prepare for possible situations on election day, but it would be very inappropriate if such preparations were done with specific motives," Wang told reporters at the Legislative Yuan.
KMT Chairman Wu Poh-hsiung (
KMT caucus whip Kuo Su-chun (
"The CEC has never discussed this kind of draft [regulation] before. It will use the draft to reverse election results if they are bad for the DPP," Kuo said.
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