The Executive Yuan is seeking to lower the petition and signature threshold of national referendums and abolish the Referendum Review Committee (
Minister without Portfolio Hsu Chi-hsiung (
Committee members agreed to do away with the Referendum Review Committee, which they called running counter to the spirit of direct democracy.
They proposed to empower the Central Election Commission (CEC) and its local offices to handle referendum affairs. The committee is established under the law to allow a way to screen referendum topics. Committee members also approved to lower the threshold of petition filing to 0.05 percent, or about 8,000 people, of eligible voters in the latest presidential polls. The law stipulates that a successful referendum petition needs 0.5 percent, or about 80,000 people, of eligible voters.
The law also mandates that signatures of 5 percent of the electorate joining in the latest presidential election, or approximately 800,000 signatures, are needed before the referendum petition can be screened by the Referendum Review Committee. The Cabinet hopes to lower it to 2 percent, or about 300,000, for national referendum and 5 percent for the initiative of constitutional amendment.
While the government is prohibited from proposing or commissioning a referendum except on statutory grounds stipulated in the law, the Cabinet is seeking to obtain the power to do so. The draft proposes that the Executive Yuan has the right to ask the CEC to initiate a referendum.