Sun, Jan 13, 2008 - Page 6 News List

Legislative elections and referendums: DPP and KMT referendums fail

INSUFFICIENT BALLOTS Voter turnout of 50 percent or more was required to pass the referendums, but only 26 percent of those eligible voted on the measures

By Jenny W. Hsu  /  STAFF REPORTER

A voter ponders whether to pick up referendum ballots at a polling station in Taichung County yesterday.

PHOTO: OU SU-MEI, TAIPEI TIMES

Both referendums proposed by the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) and the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) suffered defeat yesterday.

Out of 17,277,720 eligible voters in nationwide, for the DPP's proposal, the turnout was 26.34 percent. A total of 4,550,881 people voted on it with 3,891,179 affirmative votes and 363,494 negative votes.

For the KMT's proposal, the turnout was 26.08 percent. A total of 4,505,927 people voted on it with 2,304,136 affirmative votes and 1,656,890 negative votes.

According to Referendum Law (公投法), a referendum on the same subject cannot be held again within a span of three years. In other words, the parties cannot push the same referendum that each proposed during this election until three years later.

The KMT's referendum aimed to empower the Legislature Yuan to set up a special investigative committee to probe any questionable finances of the president and high ranking government officials.

The referendum launched by the DPP called for regulations on the disposition of assets improperly obtained by political parties.

Commenting on the DPP's failed referendum bid, KMT Chairman Wu Poh-hsiung (吳伯雄) last night told a news conference that it is "absolutely erroneous" to say that the KMT has over NT$200 billion (US$6.2 billion) to NT$300 billion in assets when the party has just over NT$200 million.

"If the KMT had any illegal assets, the judiciary system can charge us with wrongdoing at any time. But the truth is, we have reported our assets as required by the Control Yuan," he said, adding that it is a "monumental joke" to keep smearing the party.

necessary

Contrary to the pan-blue leaders' call to boycott yesterday's referendums, Demos Chiang (蔣友柏), the great grandson of former dictator Chiang Kai-shek (蔣介石), said yesterday he feels it is absolutely necessary to vote yes to the two referendums.

In his latest entry on his blog baimu yiyan (白木怡言) on Friday, he urged the public to "be their own CEO" by exercising their rights to vote for the referendums.

He said his support for the referendum is without any bias towards a particular camp, but because the referendum is the "most civilized mechanism that has happened in the history of democracy" and it is also the highest form of respect that politicians can pay for the people's right to choose.

No comments were available from DPP headquarters at press time on the failure of its proposed referendum.

Earlier yesterday however, DPP Secretary-General Cho Jung-tai (卓榮泰) criticized high-ranking KMT officials for setting a bad example by encouraging voters to boycott the two referendums.

"Their behavior is tantamount to rejecting democracy," Cho said. "They set a very bad example for Taiwan and the world. The message they send is that Taiwan is a country where the people cannot enjoy the right to referendum and that a referendum is like a dreadful monster."

DPP Legislator Shen Fa-hui (沈發惠), who doubles as the executive director of the DPP's Policy Committee, yesterday urged investigators and prosecutors to find out who is to blame for obstructing voters from picking up referendum ballots at polling stations, particularly in counties and cities governed by the pan-blue camp.

Shen said they received complaints that some election personnel hinted to voters that they did not need to pick up the referendum ballots. Some simply told them flat out that they did not need to do so.

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