The Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) caucus announced yesterday that the party had collected more than 1.5 million signatures, surpassing the second legal threshold for its proposed referendum on "returning" to the UN under the name "Republic of China."
KMT caucus whip Tseng Yung-chuan (曾永權) told a press conference that the caucus would submit the 1,506,847 signatures the party has collected to the Central Election Commission (CEC) for verification.
Under the Referendum Law (
The party began a second-stage signature collection after the Cabinet's Referendum Review Committee approved its referendum proposal on Aug. 28. The Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) began the second-stage signature drive for its proposed referendum on joining the UN under the name "Taiwan" in early August.
The DPP announced on Oct. 31 that it had collected 2.45 million signatures in support of its referendum proposal.
The nation will hold two referendums on joining the UN -- under different titles -- if the CEC verifies that both the KMT and the DPP collected sufficient signatures.
When asked to comment on People First Party Chairman James Soong's (宋楚瑜) remark on Wednesday that the KMT's proposed UN referendum is "impossible" and "deceiving," Tseng said the party's proposal is a "real, direct exercise of people's rights."
He added that it highlights a "practical, flexible and dignified way to return to the UN."
Meanwhile, Tseng restated the KMT's objection to a proposal from 10 DPP legislators to print the ballots for the two referendums to be held in conjunction with the legislative elections on Jan. 12 on the same sheet. CEC members will decide on the procedure for January's legislative poll and referendums today.
The DPP is sponsoring a referendum on reclaiming the KMT's "stolen" assets while the KMT's poll is on giving the legislature the power to investigate the president, the vice president, their family members and subordinates for corruption.
The pan-green and pan-blue camps have bickered over whether the legislative and referendum ballots should be given to voters simultaneously, as both sides believe this could affect the result of the elections.
DPP legislators visited CEC Chairman Chang Cheng-hsiung (張政雄) on Tuesday.
Tseng, however, said yesterday that there was no way the CEC could calculate turnout for the two referendums if it accepts the legislators' suggestion, adding that this could result in the referendums being invalidated.
"The caucus will sue anyone who makes an illegal decision [on the procedure]," Tseng said.
Meanwhile, KMT presidential candidate Ma Ying-jeou (
"People also thought that Dr. Sun Yat-sen's revolution would not be successful, but he did it," Ma said yesterday in Taipei.
"It's possible for us to achieve many things when the circumstances are ripe," he said.
Ma said the KMT had been pushing for the country's re-entry into the UN since 1993.
"As long as we continue to try, there's a chance that we will achieve our goal some day. We should not give up," he said.
Meanwhile, President Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁) said the fact that Soong, former KMT chairman Lien Chan (連戰) and Legislative Speaker Wang Jin-pyng (王金平) were all against the KMT's UN referendum proved the poll was "phony."