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KMT promises constitutional package before end of March

Government reluctant on referendum reform: DPP

KMT promises constitutional package before end of March

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) – Kuomintang Chairman Eric Liluan Chu on Wednesday promised he would have a government proposal for constitutional amendments ready by the end of the month.
The promise came at the same time as opposition politicians slammed the Executive Yuan for being reluctant to lower the threshold for the passage of referendums.
Chu said the constitutional proposal would move the country’s political structure in the direction of a Cabinet system. KMT lawmakers who were members of the relative caucus committee would reportedly visit President Ma Ying-jeou later Wednesday evening, reports said.
In his address to the weekly Central Standing Committee meeting of his party, Chu said that for the past years, the Legislative Yuan had too often been racked by divisions, hampering progress on the passage of vital legislation.
At the same time however, the government was described as the main force blocking the lowering of thresholds in the way of more referendums. Under the existing Referendum Act, at least 50 percent of eligible voters need to cast their ballot in a referendum for the result to be accepted as binding.
Since Chu called for constitutional amendments before being elected chairman of the Kuomintang last January, preparations have been moving to discuss what kind of provisions need change.
Critics have long slammed the Referendum Act as being too conservative and including too many articles that stand in the way of holding the actual referendums.
Cabinet Secretary-General Chien Tai-lang reportedly said Wednesday that the government could accept a lower threshold for the number of signatures needed to apply for a referendum, but not for the passage of a plebiscite. The government review committee in charge of evaluating the legality of a referendum request should not be abolished either, he said.
The main force standing in the way of revising the Referendum Act was the Executive Yuan because it only wanted to change the “large birdcage” referendum law into a “small birdcage,” opposition Democratic Progressive Party lawmakers said.
Chien rejected reports that he objected to any changes in the Referendum Act, but insisted he wanted only the best possible revisions.
The threshold to propose a referendum subject could be pushed below the present 0.5 percent and the minimum requirement of 5 percent of eligible voters necessary to approve a referendum request could also be changed, but if the threshold for the final result were lowered, that would amount to letting a minority decide in the majority’s place, Chien reportedly told lawmakers.
DPP lawmakers slammed the ruling camp for blocking the lowering of the threshold for referendum results 128 times, pointing at the Cabinet as the main guilty party. They also rejected a government claim that the Grand Council of Justices had ruled the abolition of the Referendum Review Committee unconstitutional, saying that only its composition by members of various political parties had been rejected by the judiciary body.
DPP lawmaker Chen Chi-mai accused the Cabinet and the KMT, with Chu as its chairman, of playing two games.


Updated : 2021-09-18 14:56 GMT+08:00