Strong public support for new constitution: pro-independence group

President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) in her second-term inaugural address at the Presidential Office on Wednesday.

TAIPEI (CNA) — There is strong support in Taiwan for the establishment of a new constitution, according to a pro-Taiwan independence group which cited the results of a survey it carried out.

A total of 80 percent of the 1,121 Taiwanese surveyed by the Taiwan New Constitution Foundation (TNC) supported “drawing up a new constitution that reflects the current situation of Taiwan,” said the TNC’s founder Koo Kwang-ming (辜寬敏) in a press release on Wednesday.

Koo said the results of the survey, as well as a statement released in support of a new constitution authored by a coalition of civic groups earlier Wednesday, shows that there is a strong consensus in Taiwanese society for a revamped constitution.

Koo’s comments were in response to President Tsai Ing-wen’s (蔡英文) second-term inaugural address, in which she announced plans to establish a constitutional amendment committee.

The committee would act as a platform for discussing “constitutional reforms pertaining to government systems and people’s rights,” Tsai said.

The committee’s first priority would be to lower Taiwan’s voting age from 20 to 18 — an issue on which there is broad bipartisan consensus, Tsai added.

In its press release, the TNC said it welcomed Tsai’s decision to include constitutional reform as one of her policy objectives, but added that her administration should do more to solve the constitution’s central flaws.

The constitution has a broken design, lacks human rights protection, sets up a barrier too high for amendments, and fails to clearly position the country and its political system, said Lin Yi-cheng (林宜正), the TNC’s executive director.

These problems are what prevent Taiwan from becoming a “normal country,” according to Lin.

A new constitution would also be crucial to cross-Taiwan Strait relations, Lin said.

“Taiwan needs a new constitution to clearly define its relationship with China, so that the country can interact with it on an equal footing and ensure Taiwan’s democracy,” Lin said.

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