KMT draws up petition plan for national referendum

Taipei,  The opposition Kuomintang (KMT) on Tuesday said it is organizing a nationwide petition calling for the staging of a national referendum, which if successful, could help tie Taiwan’s referendums to its national elections.

Speaking at a press event, KMT Chairman Johnny Chiang (江啟臣) said the aim will be to allow any national referendum, if established, to be held in conjunction with the country’s election dates.

Chiang, meanwhile, accused the ruling Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) of undermining the true value and significance of referendums and called on all members of the public to support his party’s petition.

He was referring to revisions to the Referendum Act pushed through by the DPP-controlled Legislative Yuan in June 2019 that will restrict the holding of national referendums to only once every two years, on the fourth Saturday of August, starting in 2021.

The move came after DPP lawmakers in late 2017 passed an amendment making it easier to initiate referendums, which they said would return power to the people.

This eventually led to 10 referendum questions being put to a vote along with the November 2018 elections for local offices, in which the DPP suffered a major defeat.

At the time, the ruling party attributed the defeat in part to some of the questions on the ballot that highlighted some of its controversial policies and positions, and as such, decided to split up elections from referendums.

On Tuesday, Chiang said the referendum his party is trying to establish will help bring back power to the people.

At the Taipei event, he again slammed the DPP for going against its democratic values and for creating referendums he described as “iron cages.”

Luo Chih-chiang (羅智強), who heads the Institute of Revolutionary Practice (IRP), said the referendum concerns Taiwan and not just the KMT.

The IRP is an educational institution established in 1949 and is affiliated with the KMT.

If the petition passes its threshold and the referendum can take place next August and pass with a popular vote, Luo said it would allow future referendums to be tied to elections in Taiwan, notably the 2022 local elections and the 2024 presidential election.

 

Source: Focus Taiwan News Channel

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