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Referendum draft aims to force KMT to return assets

Referendum draft aims to force KMT to return assets

A "grand alliance" led by the ruling Democratic Progressive Party will present a proposal to the Executive Yuan today to pave the way for a national referendum aimed at forcing the main opposition Kuomintang to return its ill-gotten assets to the national coffers.
The alliance has collected signatures from more than 150,000 eligible voters to qualify for initiating a nationwide referendum on the KMT's controversial party assets.
Executive Yuan officials said yesterday that Premier Su Tseng-chang (蘇貞昌) will accept the alliance's referendum initiative in person to underscore the importance the government attaches to the issue.
Su will then direct the Central Election Commission to handle follow-up technical details, including the formation of a review panel to screen the referendum initiative.
Under the current Referendum Law Enforcement Rules, the referendum initiative review committee will be formed by 21 commissioners to be recommended by political parties in proportion to the number of seats they hold in the Legislative Yuan. The CEC secretary-general will concurrently serve as the review committee's chief executive. All review committee positions are unpaid jobs.
CEC spokesman Teng Tien-you said the CEC will ask the legislative caucuses of various political parties to recommend suitable individuals to serve on the referendum review committee.
Taiwan held its first-ever nationwide referendum simultaneously with its last presidential election March 20, 2004. That referendum was initiated by the president to ask the electorate whether the country should upgrade its arsenal in the face of China's ever-mounting missile threat. Because of a boycott by the opposition, the referendum failed to take effect as less than 50 percent of the electorate bothered to cast their votes.
Uncertainties
If the KMT assets-related referendum initiative manages to gain the approval of the yet-to-be-formed screening committee, it will be the first referendum proposed by the private sector.
It remains uncertain whether the initiative will clear the screening committee as the KMT and its "pan-blue" ally -the People First Party - jointly hold a slim majority in the legislature and will consequently hold more than half of the seats in the screening committee.
In its first-ever public financial report released late last month, the KMT, which ruled Taiwan for more than five decades until May 2000 when it lost the presidency to the DPP, put its current party assets at NT$27.7 billion. However, a public opinion poll conducted by the DPP shows that more than half of the respondents are skeptical about the veracity of the KMT financial report.
The DPP and its allies have claimed that the KMT had during its 55-year ruling period illegally or improperly amassed a huge amounts of property that belonged to the nation and the people.
The Executive Yuan came up with a draft package of amendments to the Referendum Law in June 2005, which cancels the requirement to set up a review committee to screen referendum initiatives proposed by the private sector in compliance with the spirit of popular sovereignty.
The package also authorizes the Executive Yuan to present referendum initiatives with the approval of the legislature. opposition-controlled legislature has so far not yet approved the Executive Yuan-initiated Referendum Law amendment proposals.


Updated : 2021-10-19 11:56 GMT+08:00