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CEC TO PUSH FOR AMENDMENT TO PROHIBIT REFERENDUM-ELECTION TIE-UP

2004-05-12 16:41:00

    Taipei, May 12 (CNA) The Central Election Commission (CEC) is planning to push for an amendment to the Referendum Law to prohibit referendums from being held at the same time as major nationwide elections.

    CEC authorities made the decision Tuesday on the second day of the recount of ballots cast in the March 20 presidential election. Most of the controversial votes so far are misplaced ballots as a result of the referendum that was held in tandem with the election.

    President Chen Shui-bian succeeded in his re-election bid by a narrow margin of 29,518 votes, or just 0.228 percent of the some 13 million ballots cast.

    Refusing to accept the results of the election, Chen's rival ticket of opposition Kuomintang Chairman Lien Chan and People First Party Chairman James Soong filed two lawsuits demanding a recount of the votes and an annulment of the election on the grounds that the whole election-referendum setting was "unfair."

    Commenting on the CEC decision, Chang Chun-hsiung, secretary-general of the ruling Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) , said Wednesday that the DPP will respect the Legislative Yuan's decision if the CEC's proposal to amend the Referendum Law to ban referendum-election tie-ups is passed into law.

    Chang noted that the DPP proposal to hold a referendum -- suggested by the president to allow Taiwan residents to voice their opposition to Beijing's missile threats -- in conjunction with the presidential election, was aimed at saving tax payers' money and the proposal was carried out only after it cleared the legislative floor.

(By Deborah Kuo)

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