Fri, Nov 30, 2018 - Page 3 News List

Premier pushes for electronic referendums

By Sean Lin  /  Staff reporter

Premier William Lai (賴清德) yesterday ordered the Central Election Commission (CEC) to explore the possibility of conducting electronic referendums and to propose methods to correct the flaws seen in the nine-in-one elections within a month.

There has been public outrage over the way the elections and 10 referendums were conducted on Saturday last week, which was attributable to the commission’s poor planning and inflexibility, which greatly inconvenienced voters, Executive Yuan spokeswoman Kolas Yotaka quoted Lai as saying at yesterday’s Cabinet meeting.

Even though Chen In-chin (陳英鈐) resigned as CEC chairman on Sunday, the commission must learn its lesson, overhaul the electoral process and propose amendments to election rules, since holding referendums alongside elections is likely to become the norm, Lai was quoted as saying.

He told the commission to explore the possibility of holding electronic referendums to avoid a repeat of Saturday’s chaos, when some people were still voting even as polling stations began vote-counting.

However, due to the technicalities involved, the government has not set a timetable for the changes to be adopted in time for the next elections, as the scheme should be carefully assessed to ensure fairness, Lai said.

The commission should also propose ways to ensure fairness in the initiation process for a referendum and prevent signatures of deceased people from being submitted, he said.

The Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) allegedly used the tactic when it submitted petitions for its referendum proposals on reducing the use of coal power.

The Executive Yuan fully respects the outcome of the referendums and would engage in extensive discussions with all legislative caucuses in formulating policies to act on their outcomes, the premier said.

CEC Deputy Minister Chen Chao-chien (陳朝建) said that “the Referendum Act (公民投票法) needs to be amended if referendums are to be conducted electronically,” as regulations only allow electronic petitions to be submitted for referendums.

The CEC has commissioned construction of an electronic system for the initiation stage of referendums, with system testing expected to commence soon, Chen said.

Lai also told the Ministry of Education and the Mainland Affairs Council to help Taichung mayor-elect Lu Shiow-yen (盧秀燕), who pledged to secure Taichung’s right to host the first East Asian Youth Games next year.

The premier praised the campaign pledges made by incoming mayors and county commissioners to push for more visits by Chinese tour groups, and ordered the Tourism Bureau and the council to assist in the effort.

Comments will be moderated. Keep comments relevant to the article. Remarks containing abusive and obscene language, personal attacks of any kind or promotion will be removed and the user banned. Final decision will be at the discretion of the Taipei Times.

TOP top