An important policy like the government’s proposed economic cooperation framework agreement (ECFA) with China should be subject to public approval, former grand justice Su Chun-hsiung (蘇俊雄) said in support of holding a referendum on the controversial trade pact.
One day after Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) lawmakers blocked an opposition-sponsored bill calling for a referendum, Su said the government should have used this chance to hear public concern and dissenting opinions raised by the opposition.
The Taiwan Solidarity Union (TSU) said it would submit a separate referendum proposal to the Executive Yuan’s Referendum Review Committee tomorrow, and if passed, a vote on an ECFA could happen as early as late next month.
However, a similar proposal by the DPP was rejected by the committee last year after it said the referendum question was based on a hypothetical situation that did not meet the criteria of the Referendum Act (公投法).
“It’s a common misperception,” Su said, adding that Taiwan’s referendum system also allows for polls initiated by citizens.
Su made the comments at a gathering of law enforcement personnel in support of an ECFA referendum at the TSU’s central party headquarters in Taipei City yesterday.
Among those also in attendance were former heads of National Taiwan University’s Graduate Institute of National Development Chen Chun-sheng (陳春生), former principal of the National Police University Hsieh Zui-chi (謝瑞智) and former head of the Taiwan Bar Association Tseng Chao-chang (曾肇昌).
“What it comes down to … is that Taiwan and China have a hostile relationship and if China says that Taiwan will ‘benefit’ from this agreement, it really means that Taiwan will pay by losing its sovereignty,” Tseng said.
“The public needs to have a vote on this important national policy,” he said.
In related news, the head of the DPP’s ECFA response team said yesterday the party would focus on assisting the TSU with its referendum proposal after the debate between President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) and DPP Chairperson Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) on Sunday.
“The KMT keeps saying it wants to sign an ECFA with public approval. They should realize that a referendum is the best gauge of this,” Chen Ming-wen (陳明文) said.