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Mar 10, 2008

Referendum compromise stalled... for now?

As part of the possible work toward the compromise on lowering the referendum threshold in conjunction with altering the referendum date, the DPP presented a bill that would have been a pretty comprehensive reform of the original referendum bill and very much mold it as the DPP originally had hoped.

The bill would abolish the referendum review committee; make constitutional amendments and territory issues viable ground-up referendum topics; give both the executive and the legislature control over those two controversial topics, instead of just the legislature; lower the signature threshold for initiating a referendum review from about 80,000 to about 5,000; lower the final required signature count from about 800,000 to about 240,000; lower required voter turnout from the current 50% of eligible voters to 25%; keep the 50% voter turnout requirement for constitutional amendments and territory issues; and finally, remove the requirement that issues rejected in a referendum may not be reintroduced for three years.

KMT legislator John Wu Chih-yang (吳志揚) argued against the DPP's new voter turnout threshold, saying a 25% turnout threshold would make a boycott virtually impossible (any one big party could easily mobilize its supporters alone to vote on the issue and pass any referendum), creating what he described as a "dangerous and unstable social environment."

He has apparently never heard of the idea of just casting a "no" ballot.

The premier notes that this issue must be resolved this week if the referendum and election are to be separated, or else the CEC won't have time to stop the ballot distribution and change related plans.

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