Mon, Dec 31, 2007 - Page 3 News List

Chen lauds KMT 'compromise'

GRATEFUL The KMT said that local government heads agreed to a compromise to end the turmoil. The DPP Cabinet secretary-general says the KMT should apologize

By Ko Shu-ling  /  STAFF REPORTER

President Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁) yesterday said the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) had extricated itself from an embarrassing situation of its own making by agreeing to abide by the one-step voting system for the legislative elections next month.

"Had it known it would make such a decision, it should not have opposed it [the voting procedure] in the first place," Chen said.

Chen said there had always only been one voting format, which was the one-step announced by the Central Election Commission (CEC).

Under the one-step voting procedure, voters will receive two ballots for the legislative elections and two referendum ballots upon entering the polling station and then cast them into four different boxes.

The KMT, however, had insisted on using a two-step voting system, under which voters would first cast their legislative election ballots before picking up the referendum ballots.

In an attempt to put an end to the political wrangling, CEC Chairman Chang Cheng-hsiung (張政雄) said on Thursday that it would allow voters to follow the two-step voting procedure as long as local commissions set up polling stations in line with the setup used in the one-step voting format.

Although the KMT initially rejected the idea, it reversed its decision following a meeting between the KMT and pan-blue local government heads.

The KMT claimed that local government heads had agreed to accept the compromise to end the dispute, which had caused turmoil and confusion among front-line election personnel.

Despite the criticism, Chen yesterday said he was grateful the KMT was willing to end the dispute, as it had engendered much controversy in the past month.

Chen made the remarks yesterday morning while campaigning for Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) legislative candidate Chien Chao-tung (簡肇棟) in Taichung County.

Meanwhile, Cabinet Secretary-General Chen Chin-jun (陳景峻) yesterday said the KMT should apologize to the public for causing so much trouble over the past month, despite its recent change of heart.

Chen Chin-jun said it was a victory for the people because more than 70 percent of the public surveyed in a recent poll said they supported the one-step system.

The Cabinet would continue to monitor the attitude of local election commissions and will "remove all obstructions" if they fail to abide by the CEC decision, he said.

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