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2004-01-27 14:27:20

    Taipei, Jan. 27 (CNA) Holding a referendum in tandem with the presidential election March 20 would be convenient for voters as well as economical for the government, Executive Yuan spokesman Lin Chia-lung said Tuesday.

    Doing so would also be in line with the practice of many other countries in terms of holding referendums, Lin said, calling for support from the opposition parties as well as local governments around the island.

    He said the people should throw their support behind President Chen Shui-bian to facilitate the holding of the first-ever referendum in Chinese history, rather than boycott or reject the referendum.

    He added that local governments that do not cooperate with the central government in the holding of the referendum on the day of the presidential election risk being dealt with squarely with the Public Functionary Service Statute, the Referendum Law and the Election and Recall Law.

    Lin made the remarks in response to reports that 14 city and county chiefs who are members or supporters of the opposition "pan-blue alliance" met Monday and jointly urged the central government to put the "defensive referendum" set for March 20 on hold to avoid causing controversy in the international community.

    The opposition local government officials also urged the Central Election Committee to divide the voting process and allow for an interval between the presidential election and the "defensive referendum" if the referendum is indeed to be held.

(By Deborah Kuo)


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