The Referendum Review Committee yesterday held a public hearing at the Central Election Commission (CEC) on a proposal by the Taiwan Solidarity Union (TSU) to hold a referendum on abolishing the committee.
The TSU, which has launched a signature drive to launch a referendum to decide whether to abolish the committee, said the committee should not preside over the meeting to avoid a conflict of interest.
Leading party members in a protest outside the CEC, TSU Chairman Huang Kun-huei (黃昆輝) initially attended the public hearing, but later left the session in protest.
Citing articles 32 and 33 of the Administrative Procedure Act (行政程序法), Huang said that because the public hearing was on the issue of abolishing the committee, committee chairman Chao Yung-mao (趙永茂) and committee members should avoid chairing the hearing to avoid a conflict of interest.
However, his protests were to no avail, he said.
Committee member Swei Duh-ching (隋杜卿) said that while members should avoid chairing anything that would conflict with the committee’s interests, reasons must be given for doing so and should be submitted to the Executive Yuan.
Chao said that by law, the TSU’s proposal had to be reviewed, adding that the Executive Yuan had not received any request for the committee to stay away from the meeting.
Huang said that the committee was “absurd” and “authoritarian,” adding that even if it chose not to recuse itself from the matter, under the Referendum Act (公民投票法) the case would be a “ghost case,” because no one would be in a position to decide on the matter.
“The committee is an organization to help the public implement referendums, but it is doing the exact opposite and overriding the opinions of 300,000 people with the decision of only a few committee members,” Huang said.
National Taipei University of Education Social and Public Affairs Department head Chen Tsang-hai (陳滄海) said the committee was a necessary organization.
However, Chen said that in theory, holding a referendum on part of the Referendum Act was acceptable.
National Changhua University of Education professor Liu Chao-lung (劉兆隆) said that with the many issues that could be used to hold a referendum, there must be a form of review system or it would cause chaos, but added that such a system should not be politicized.
The committee said a decision had been reached to review the TSU proposal on Dec. 27.
Translated by Jake Chung