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KMT chairman outlines party goals in amending Constitution

2015/03/27 20:18:07

Eric Chu (朱立倫), right.

Taipei, March 27 (CNA) Kuomintang (KMT) Chairman Eric Chu (朱立倫) said Friday that the objective of any revisions to the Constitution his party proposes will be to establish a system that balances power and responsibility, expands civil participation and allows absentee voting.

The KMT and its legislators are currently discussing possible constitutional amendments, and the consensus reached by KMT lawmakers on the issue will represent the party's stance, he said during a KMT legislative caucus meeting.

The most important goal of the process will be to establish a system in which power and responsibility are balanced so as to address problems in the operations of the country's legislative and executive branches over the past two decades caused by the lack of such a balance, he said.

Chu suggested that other trends should be taken into consideration in debating constitutional revisions.

One of them, he said, was that following a reduction in the size of the Legislature and the streamlining of the Executive Yuan, many feel that the Judicial Yuan, Examination Yuan and the Control Yuan also need to be downsized to improve the government's efficiency.

Another trend is for the government to solicit opinions from civil groups in the policymaking process, and expand civic participation to include more young adults and private groups, he said.

Chu also proposed that the voting age should be lowered to 18 from the current 20 and that absentee voting be allowed to make it easier for citizens to participate in the political process.

He said many Taiwanese do not necessarily have the time to travel back to the city or county where they are registered to vote on election days because they live and work in other cities or counties.

Chu, who is also the mayor of New Taipei, said that while the consensus reached by KMT lawmakers on constitutional amendments will represent the party's stance on the issue, "anyone" is welcome to express his or her opinion during the process.

"Anyone's opinion will be a reference for us," Chu said when asked by the media whether he will take into account the opinions of President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九), who stepped down as KMT chairman last December following the party's crushing defeat to the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) in local government elections.

Chu's remarks came amid speculation that Ma is opposed to lowering the voting age to 18.

Presidential spokesman Charles Chen (陳以信) denied the rumors, however, saying that the president supported the ideas being floated by the KMT legislative caucus, including lowering the voting age and further streamlining the government.

Chu said his party will continue to keep in contact with the DPP to seek consensus on amending the Constitution.

An alliance that advocates civil rights for 18-year-olds said on Friday, meanwhile, that it plans to pay visits to leaders of both the KMT and the DPP and urge them to pay greater attention to the political participation of young people.

The alliance also expressed hope that the legislative commission on constitutional amendments will step up the process of amending the Constitution.

(By Kelven Huang, Tai Ya-chen and Elaine Hou)