The Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) yesterday began the second-stage signature drive for its UN referendum bid after the proposal passed the first-stage review by the Central Election Commission on Tuesday.
Calling the commission's approval a great encouragement, DPP Chairman Yu Shyi-kun told a press conference that the party hoped to collect more than 1 million signatures by the end of October.
"This [the referendum] will be a great help to normalize the nation," he said, urging the public to participate in the signature drive.
The party submitted more than 90,000 signatures to the commission on May 21, comfortably exceeding the 0.5 percent of eligible voters -- or 83,000 people -- threshold for a referendum proposal to be established.
Although the Cabinet's Referendum Review Committee rejected the proposal on June 29 on the grounds that "referendums were reserved for controversial issues of public concern," the DPP appealed the decision and won a ruling in its favor from the Cabinet's Appeal Committee on July 12.
By law, in order to hold the referendum alongside next March's presidential election, the DPP will have to collect endorsements from more than 5 percent of eligible voters -- about 830,000 people -- by November.
The DPP Central Standing Committee (CSC) also passed a resolution yesterday to suspend the rights of members who do not meet their quotas for the second-stage signature campaign.
Members will have their membership rights suspended for a period ranging from three months to two years depending on how badly they miss their quotas.
The party said presidential candidate Frank Hsieh (謝長廷) had to collect 20,000 signatures, Yu was given a quota of 10,000, legislative candidates must collect 5,000 and DPP city and county chiefs are each responsible for getting 7,500.
Yu said the CSC passed the resolution amid concerns that some members would not go all out collect signatures for the referendum.