The Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) yesterday began its mobilization preparation for the upcoming anti-nuclear demonstration on Saturday and expressed its support for allowing absentee voting in referendums if it does not include overseas voters.
“The measure should be considered as it would uphold people’s right to exercise their civil rights,” DPP Chairman Su Tseng-chang (蘇貞昌) said in response to a proposal initiated by New Taipei City (新北市) Mayor Eric Chu (朱立倫).
Other DPP politicians— including Lo Chih-cheng (羅致政), director of the party’s New Taipei City office, and Chuang Ruei-hsiung (莊瑞雄), director of the Taipei City office — also supported the initiative, with Lo saying that the mechanism could boost voter turnout.
However, Lo added that it would require legislative amendments and resolution of some technical issues, which might not be ready in time for a proposed referendum on the fate of the Fourth Nuclear Power Plant.
Absentee voting should also be limited to national referendums and not presidential elections because of the politically complex nature of presidential polls, Lo added.
Lo and Chuang were among the local office directors who attended a meeting with Su yesterday, which discussed the mobilization work for both the anti-nuclear protest to be held on Saturday and the proposed national referendum.
Su called on DPP supporters and members to participate in the Saturday protest, but asked them to keep a low profile by leaving party flags, banners, hats and materials at home, because the protest was a not competition between political parties.
“The protest was initiated by civic groups for the people and it should stay that way,” Su said, adding that the DPP would only play an assisting role in the demonstrations to be held in Taipei, Greater Taichung, Greater Kaohsiung and Taitung, which are expected to draw more than 50,000 participants.
Su also asked the party’s local offices not to mobilize sound trucks for the demonstrations.
Su and former DPP chairperson Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) both played down calls by some DPP lawmakers for people to view the referendum as a vote of no confidence in President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九).
“The referendum is about the suspension of the construction of the Fourth Nuclear Power Plant, rather than the opposition to the president,” Tsai wrote on her Facebook page yesterday.