Thu, Nov 01, 2007 - Page 3 News List

DPP touts gathering 2.45m signatures in referendum drive

By Ko Shu-ling  /  STAFF REPORTER

The Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) said yesterday that it had collected 2.45 million signatures in the second phase of its petition on a referendum proposal seeking UN membership for Taiwan.

DPP Legislator Hsieh Hsin-ni (謝欣霓), director of the DPP's Culture and Information Department, said that the party would send the signatures to the Central Election Commission by the middle of next month.

The DPP needs to amass more than 800,000 signatures to make the referendum valid. Once the signatures have been validated by the commission, the referendum would be held in conjunction with the presidential election on March 22.

While the DPP proposed joining the UN using the name "Taiwan," the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) has suggested using the nation's official title, "Republic of China," or any other "practical" title that would uphold the country's dignity, to "return" to the UN.

Meanwhile, more than 1,000 people joined the DPP yesterday, including 86-year-old grandmother Huang Po-yun (黃波雲).

With President Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁), Vice President Annette Lu (呂秀蓮) and other party members looking on, the new recruits were sworn in outside DPP headquarters in Taipei.

Chen said the DPP did not have the massive amount of party assets the KMT had, nor did it have any spoils to divide between members.

"Your decision to join the DPP today stems from identification with the party's founding spirt and ideas. It is not a trade-off of interests," Chen said.

The president said he was glad the DPP had garnered more than 1 million signatures for its referendum petition since he took over as party chairman on Oct. 17.

"There is only one Taiwan," Chen said. "It is yours, mine, the DPP's and that of the 23 million people of Taiwan. As long as you identify with this land and the nation, everybody has the responsibility to protect Taiwan, its sovereignty, dignity and safety, regardless of your political party, ethnic group or career."

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