Sun, Dec 05, 2010 - Page 1 News List

CEC approves ECFA referendum proposal

JUST THE BEGINNING:The TSU’s third proposal this year still has to be approved by the Referendum Review Committee and gather another round of endorsements

By Loa Iok-sin  /  Staff Reporter

The Central Election Commission (CEC) has given initial approval to a referendum proposal submitted by the Taiwan Solidarity Union (TSU) — for the third time this year — on the Economic Cooperation Framework Agreement (ECFA) that the government signed with China in June.

Following failed attempts in April and June to propose referendums asking: “Do you agree with the government’s signing of the Economic Cooperation Framework Agreement (ECFA),” the party made its third attempt after having successfully gathered endorsements from nearly 97,000 citizens over 20 years of age.

“We have confirmed that the referendum proposal filed by [TSU chairman] Huang Kun-huei (黃昆輝), endorsed by 96,997 people, has reached the required threshold and will be forwarded to the Executive Yuan’s Referendum Review Committee for further review as soon as possible,” the CEC said in a press release on Friday evening.

“The [Cabinet’s] Referendum Review Committee will review the case and notify the CEC of the result within 30 days,” the statement said. “If the committee approves it, the CEC will ask household registration authorities to confirm the identities of the endorsers within 15 days [after receiving the notice from the committee]. If the committee does not approve the proposal, we will reject it.”

According to the Referendum Act (公民投票法), a referendum proposal must be endorsed by 0.05 percent of the total number of eligible voters in the last presidential election, which would be 86,608 in this case.

If the proposal gets a green light from the Referendum Review Committee, then the CEC will ask the referendum’s initiator to gather signatures from 0.5 percent of the total number of eligible voters from the last presidential election — which would be approximately 866,000 in this case.

Friday’s approval was the third time the has CEC granted initial approval to the TSU’s ECFA referendum proposal. Despite doing so, the previous two proposals were rejected by the Referendum Review Committee.

Huang called on the new CEC Chairwoman Chang Po-ya (張博雅) to toughen up and “not let the Cabinet’s Referendum Review Committee abuse its power and disfranchise people’s rights to hold referendums.”

The Referendum Review Committee’s previous rejections of the TSU’s referendum proposals were obviously acts that infringed on the CEC’s authority, Huang said.

“In the past, the CEC was too weak when it faced the Referendum Review Committee,” he said. “But I have high expectations of Chang, as she has been a long-time activist in [Taiwan’s] struggle for democracy. I have confidence that she will not allow the Referendum Review Committee to abuse its power.”

ADDITIONAL REPORTING BY STAFF WRITER

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