Independence supporters yesterday said that they were willing to keep their fight going for years as the Taipei High Administrative Court began hearing a challenge against a Central Election Commission decision.
Taiwan New Constitution Foundation founder Koo Kwang-ming (辜寬敏) attended the opening session.
The commission last year rejected the foundation’s application to conduct a referendum on drafting a new constitution.
“I have advocated Taiwanese independence for more than half a century,” Koo said before the hearing.
“Taiwan has been under Japanese colonial rule and the Chinese Nationalist Party’s (KMT) autocratic regime. It is time for us to push for the drafting of a new constitution for Taiwan,” he said.
“It might take three years or maybe five, but we will continue to push for this,” he said.
A new constitution would better “reflect the new reality for the nation, and for Taiwanese,” he said.
“Koo Kwang-ming is 96 years old now and does not have too many years to live, but we must push on to make a new constitution a reality,” he said, referring to himself in the third person.
“I have come to the court today with the goal to enable people to vote in a referendum for a new constitution,” he added.
In an explanation of its decision, the commission said that it rejected the foundation’s application because it did not conform to provisions of the Referendum Act (公民投票法) that require a referendum question to be framed in a clear, neutral manner.
The decision on Oct. 16 last year to reject the application prompted Koo to appeal to the administrative court.
“For 100 years, Taiwan has been under the rule of colonial regimes. Now we have democracy and freedom for the people,” Koo said. “We can peacefully vote in a referendum to change the constitution, which would suit Taiwan.”
“It is an issue we must undertake for the sake of future generations,” he said.
“Therefore, we will go all out to win this case,” he added.
Attorney Huang Di-ying (黃帝穎), who accompanied Koo, said that Taiwanese have fundamental rights and should be allowed to express their views on holding a referendum to draft a new constitution.
“The commission’s decision to deny the application was unconstitutional, in our view,” Huang said.
“In today’s oral argument, we will stress the importance of the rights of Taiwanese to be involved in the constitutional process,” he added.
“The rights of our nation’s citizens to ‘become masters of their own house’ must be upheld,” he said.
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