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PRESIDENTIAL OFFICE TO SUBMIT REFERENDUM QUESTIONS FOR APPROVAL

2004-02-02 14:10:03

    Taipei, Feb. 2 (CNA) The Presidential Office is scheduled to submit the two questions for the "peace referendum" to the Executive Yuan Tuesday for approval, sources from the Presidential Office said Monday.

    The Executive Yuan, in turn, is expected to give its approval Wednesday to the questions advocated by President Chen Shui-bian, paving the way for the holding of the referendum on the presidential election day slated for March 20, Presidential Office officials said.

    Quoting Article 17 of the Referendum Law, which was passed late last year, the officials said that President Chen is empowered by the law to call a referendum when the nation faces an obvious outside threat to its sovereignty.

    President Chen announced Jan. 16 that a "peace referendum" would be held alongside the March 20 presidential election to ask voters whether Taiwan should further beef up its anti-missile defenses if Beijing refuses to withdraw the hundreds of ballistic missiles pointed at Taiwan and whether a mechanism should be established for negotiating with Beijing a framework for peaceful cross-Taiwan Strait interaction.

    It is estimated that it will take only 26 days for the country to get fully prepared for the March 20 "peace referendum," the officials said.

    Since the referendum is being initiated by the president himself rather than by the Taiwan people, the initiation process will be much shorter than the 60-80 days that would normally be required, Central Election Commission Chairman Huang Shih-cheng said last week.

(By Deborah Kuo)

ENDITEM/Li



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