Yu says he'll take the blame for any election-day chaos


Wed, Feb 11, 2004 - Page 3

Premier Yu Shyi-kun said yesterday he would shoulder the blame for any problems caused by holding the first national referendum alongside the presidential election on March 20.

"I am the premier, therefore I come to the Legislative Yuan to take questions from legislators," Yu told Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) legislators Lee Chia-chin (李嘉進) and Cho Po-yuan (卓伯源) in response to questions during a legislative interpellation.

"I will take responsibility on behalf of the Executive Yuan if the legislators are worried," he said.

Lee and Cho warned Yu that the difficulties in counting two elections at the same time would raise doubts among the electorate, pointing to the possibility of votes for the presidential election turning up inside the referendum ballot box.

The lawmakers said that this kind of dispute could mushroom into full-scale riots.

KMT Legislator Tseng Tsai Mei-tso (曾蔡美佐) asked the premier if the government was prepared for potential rioting sparked by the combination of the two votes.

Yu said he was sure there would be no trouble on polling day because Taiwan was a democracy and the electorate was experienced in taking part in elections.

Yu added, however, that the government was prepared for pockets of violence if they were to occur.

Tseng Tsai also asked the premier whether the army was ready to control disturbances resulting from electoral controversy.

She earned Minister of Interior Yu Cheng-hsien's (余政憲) promise that the National Police Administration would map out comprehensive plans to prevent disputes from expanding into a riot.

Meanwhile, in yesterday's plenary session, KMT lawmakers and their pan-blue colleagues from the People First Party (PFP) filed a motion consenting to the government's call in the referendum for the purchase of anti-missile equipment and authorization of cross-strait talks.

The pan-blue camp had earlier planned to bring a vote on the two referendum questions to the legislative floor. However, KMT whip Liao Fung-te (廖風德) said that the KMT and PFP alliance had decided to soften its approach and file the motion instead out of respect for the legislature's scheduled agenda of interpellation with the premier.

Liao said that the alliance would push for a legislative vote on the subject at a later date.

"The alliance will try to insert other agenda, such as the referendum, on different dates because lawmakers have already determined today's agenda," Liao said.