The Central Election Commission (CEC) yesterday promised to release a set of protocols before next month's elections to specify the conditions under which the commission would be allowed to declare "force majeure" and postpone the elections.
The promise came after a group of pan-blue lawmakers questioned CEC Secretary-General Teng Tien-yu (
Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) Legislator Pan Wei-kang (潘維剛) asked Teng to explain the purpose of the regulations.
"Cabinet Spokesman Shieh Jhy-wey (謝志偉) said the election will either be halted or postponed if any county insists on using the two-step voting system. Will this be part of the CEC's definition of force majeure?" she asked.
KMT lawmaker Hsieh Kuo-dong (
Force majeure literally means "greater force" in French. It is a legal term that excuses a party from liability if some unforeseen event beyond the control of that party prevents it from performing its obligations under a contract. Typically, force majeure clauses cover natural disasters, war, or the failure of third parties -- such as suppliers and subcontractors -- to perform their obligations to the contracting party.
The opposition KMT and the ruling Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) have been arguing about the voting system to be used in next month's election. The KMT wants the referendums and the legislative ballots to be handed out separately, while the DPP wants all of the ballots to be given to voters in tandem.
Last month, the CEC agreed to adopt the one-step voting system, despite vehement protests from 18 pan-blue voting districts.
Teng said the draft regulation was based on Section 4, Article 66 of the Election and Recall Law of Civil Servants (公務人員選舉罷免法).
The CEC has established a five-person special task force to discuss the implementation of the regulation, but not to determine the response when an emergency situation breaks prior to, or on the day of, the election, he said.
Teng said force majeure is a legal term with certain limitations and boundaries. The CEC, therefore, could not arbitrarily define the term as it pleases.
Teng said that it was up to the local election commission heads or polling station supervisors to report to the CEC any unusual or emergency circumstances.
Minister of Justice Morley Shih (
Shih said the force majeure clause could only be declared under extreme circumstances beyond the control of the parties involved.
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