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PRESIDENT CHEN KEEPS PITCHING FOR REFERENDUM IN ONLINE NEWSPAPER

2004-03-18 19:29:41

    Taipei, March 18 (CNA) President Chen Shui-bian said in his weekly online newspaper Thursday that the March 20 referendum is significant for history, democracy, peace and uniting the country.

    With only two days to go before the country's first nationwide referendum called by Chen, the president said the referendum is an inherent part of democracy, and there have been more than 1,500 referendums organized by 156 countries in the world.

    Recounting the country's many milestones in its development of democracy ever since the lifting of martial law in 1987 -- such as the lifting of the ban on launching new newspapers, abolishing of ban on the formation of new political parties, the complete election of members to the Legislative Yuan and Control Yuan, the popular election of the president and the transfer of power between different parties, the president said the March 20 referendum will consummate the country's democratic development.

    Besides, the referendum will send a message to the world that the country desire peace and will not bow to military threats.

    It will also put the island in the international spotlight, and put the country on the world's political map.

    He urged his countrymen be sure to cast their ballots in the referendum. "March 20 will go down in history not because of the presidential election, but because of the referendum of which the effects will be felt by our offspring forever," he said.

(By Maubo Chang)

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