CEC mulling referendum on combining elections

The China Post news staff

The Central Election Commission (CEC) will not rule out the possibility of holding a public referendum over whether to hold the legislative and presidential election simultaneously in 2012, Chairwoman Chang Po-ya of the CEC said yesterday. Chang made the remarks when answering questions from lawmakers at the Home and Nations Committee meeting of the Legislative Yuan. The legislative election was last held on Jan. 12, 2008, while the last presidential election was held more than two months later on March 20. With the two elections set to be held again next year, local political parties have made calls for a two-in-one election in a bid to reduce the resources spent.

To counter, the CEC has organized public hearing sessions to invite opinions for and against from all the related sectors on whether the two elections should be held simultaneously.

Chang said that her commission will invite scholars, experts, government officials, lawmakers and representatives from local political parties to evaluate the opinions raised at the public hearing sessions, and then make a final decision on the issue. “If necessary, the CEC will not rule out holding a national referendum on the issue, so as to work out an optimal decision,” Chang told lawmakers.

On the same occasion, Lawmaker Wu Yu-sheng of the ruling Kuomintang said that the legislative election and the presidential election are governed by different election rules and regulations, making violators of the regulations subject to different punishments,

Teng Tian-you, secretary general of the CEC, said that there is no absolute need for the Ministry of the Interior to revise related election laws to enforce the two-in-one election. But, he added, if the ministry can revise the laws, then some minor disputes or controversies occurring in the election process can be better settled.