DPP poll indicates support for referendums

PUBLIC OPINION: More than half the respondents said they wanted the legislature to pass legislation on referendums even if the rest of the world doesn't like the idea

By Chang Yun-ping  /  STAFF REPORTER

Thu, Jun 26, 2003 - Page 3

The DPP yesterday released the results of an opinion poll indicating that more than half of the public support holding referendums on major policies.

The party also declared it would hold a referendum on public policy before President Chen Shui-bian's (陳水扁) term expires on May 20 next year.

"Despite opposition from around the world to Taiwan holding a referendum, more than 58 percent of the respondents in the poll think Taiwan should be firm and pass legislation on referendums," DPP Deputy Secretary-General Lee Ying-yuan (李應元) said yesterday.

"Of the 58 percent, 48 percent demand that Taiwan pass the draft bill for the referendum law as soon as possible," Lee said.

He said that the results of the poll revealed how popular the idea of the referendum had become among Taiwanese.

"A referendum means the right of initiation stipulated in the Constitution, but these rights have been deprived by the KMT government in the past. The DPP vows to return these rights to the people," Lee said.

The poll, conducted on Monday, asked people whether they supported Taiwan's efforts to pass legislation on referendums despite opposition from the rest of the world.

Twenty-six percent of respondents disagreed with the idea of referendum legislation and 17 percent said they had no comment about the issue.

Lee said Beijing was the main force opposing referendums in Taiwan and had pressured the US to dissuade Taipei from passing the required legislation.

"Taiwan pursues cross-strait stability and peace. Taiwanese people have been maturing after getting direct election and recall rights. Now they want to use the referendum right to decide public policies and there is no doubt that they could use this right. The US should respect this fact," he said.

Lee said there was nothing Beijing could do to stop this country holding referendums if that is what the people want.

"The exact date of a referendum will be decided by the Executive Yuan, but one thing for sure is that we definitely will carry out the policy to hold a referendum before President Chen's presidency expires on May 20 next year," Lee said.