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PREMIER NOT TO ALLOW SEPARATE REFERENDUM AND PRESIDENTIAL ELECTION

2004-02-13 23:16:08

    Taipei, Feb. 13 (CNA) Premier Yu Shyi-kun vowed Friday not to allow local governments to hold the referendum and the presidential election separately, saying any official who dares to do this will be putting their jobs on the line.

    Answering questions from an opposition People First Party lawmaker, the premier said his administration won't allow a referendum separate from the presidential election to be held even if they are held on March 20 simultaneously.

    The premier said the Central Election Committee (CEC) has accepted the Executive Yuan's idea of holding the two votes together at the same time and place, although the ballots are to be cast into different boxes. Officials who failed to follow the CEC's guidelines in carrying out the referendum and the presidential election will be called to account.

    Three additional workers will be needed at each polling station

and an extra NT$84 million will be needed because voters must pick

up their ballots for the referendum only after they have cast

ballots for the presidential election, as suggested by the opposition

Kuomintang (KMT), the premier said.

    The premier made the comments in the Legislative Yuan in answering questions about news reports that two local governments are contemplating holding the two votes at separate locations in light of their different nature and their different qualifications for voters.

    In order to ensure the success of the first national referendum, the Executive Yuan has laid down every detail for the implementation of the vote and has left nothing to chance the premier added.

    As a valid referendum would require a turnout of more than 50 percent, the Executive Yuan has gone out of its way to turn the voters out for the referendum and has insisted to have it held piggyback with the presidential election.

    Meanwhile, the opposition, mainly the KMT and People First Party, claimed the referendum is not based on legal grounds. They have gone out their way to stop the referendum, or prevent it from boosting President Chen Shui-bian's chance of wining a second term.

(By Maubo Chang)

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