Wed, May 09, 2018 - Page 3 News List

CEC referendum request ‘reproachable,’ Hau says

By Sean Lin  /  Staff reporter

Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) Deputy Chairman Hau Lung-bin (郝龍斌) yesterday accused the Central Election Commission (CEC) of overstepping its purview after it last week asked Hau to clarify the question for a referendum he initiated regarding food imports from Japan.

The referendum asks for people’s views on importing food products from five Japanese prefectures that have been banned since the Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear power plant disaster in 2011.

The referendum drive, launched by Hau in December 2016, last month passed the initiation stage and is under review by the CEC, which last week asked Hau to clarify the question.

In its letter to Hau, the CEC said that South Korea, which has imposed a similar ban on potentially radiation-contaminated food products from Japan, is entangled in an international lawsuit with Japan, which accused South Korea of breaching the WHO’s Agreement on the Application of Sanitary and Phytosanitary Measures.

Hau should address the possibility that Taiwan breached international regulations and might incur a lawsuit if the referendum is passed, the CEC said.

At a news conference in Taipei, Hau said the CEC’s letter was “beyond comprehension and most reproachable.”

The result of the lawsuit between Japan and South Korea would not have any legal effects on Taiwan’s decisionmaking, he said.

The referendum review committee was abolished after amendments to the Referendum Act (公民投票法) were passed in December last year, meaning that the CEC no longer has the right to review the content of a proposed referendum and can only ask a proposer to correct personal information regarding themselves or to gather the legally required number of signatures to pass the initiation or reconfirmation stages, Hau said.

The CEC has used red tape to obstruct the initiative, Hau said, referring to a provision cited by the CEC that says the proposer of a drive must submit follow-up information on a referendum question within 30 days of notification if it considers the question to be obscure.

KMT Legislator Alex Fai (費鴻泰) accused CEC members of being Japan’s lackeys for using the South Korean lawsuit as the reason for asking Hau to submit follow-up information.

“Why do you give a damn [about the lawsuit]?” Fai said.

If the CEC is worried about Hau’s referendum affecting the nation’s relationship with Japan, it should not have allowed the initiation of Olympic medalist Chi Cheng’s (紀政) referendum asking people whether they think the nation’s athletes should use the name “Taiwan” in the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, KMT Legislator Lai shyh-bao (賴士葆) said.

If Chi’s referendum is approved, it would result in the team’s disqualification in today’s international political climate, he said.

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