Nine activists and 56 pan-blue legislators yesterday initiated a non-binding legislative proposal asking the Central Election Commission (CEC) to hold the four upcoming referendums separately from next month's legislative election and March's presidential poll.
At a press conference, Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) Legislator Hung Hsiu-chu (
"We hope the upcoming elections can be held peacefully while vote counting in the polls can proceed smoothly," Hung said. "The easiest way to avoid controversy [on election days] is to hold the referendums separately from the legislative and presidential elections."
Hung's proposal urges the CEC to arrange specific voting dates for the four referendums -- one proposed by the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) to recover the KMT's stolen assets, one proposed by the KMT to empower the legislature to investigate alleged corruption by senior government officials and their spouses, one by the DPP to join the UN using the name "Taiwan" and the other proposed by the KMT to seek re-entry to the UN using the "Republic of China" or another "practical title."
The CEC is planning to hold the DPP's referendum on the KMT's stolen assets and the KMT's referendum on investigating alleged corruption simultaneously with the legislative election on Jan. 12.
The DPP is hoping to hold the UN referendum along with the presidential poll on March 22.
Hung's proposal has been endorsed by nine activists, including National Teachers' Association Secretary-General Kevin Wu (
In line with legislative regulations the proposal will be discussed during a plenary session today, but even if the majority of legislators agree with the proposal any resolution would not legally bind the CEC to alter its plans.
"People need an environment where they can cast the votes smoothly while the public needs a peaceful election process," he said. "All the controversies today result from the CEC's decision to hold the referendums simultaneously with the legislative and presidential elections," Legislative Speaker Wang Jin-pyng (王金平) said in a statement yesterday.
Kevin Wu told the conference he had received many telephone calls from teachers expressing concern about the CEC's decision. Many teachers would be obliged to handle electoral affairs if requested by their local election commissions, he said.
"Election commissions must guarantee that personnel dealing with electoral affairs will work in a safe environment," he said.
KMT Legislator Wu Yu-sheng (吳育昇) suggested that the government hold another referendum ahead of the presidential poll to decide whether it was a good idea to hold the UN referendum alongside it.
"There should still be enough time for the CEC [to change its mind] as long as the government really wants to avoid controversy," Wu said.
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