Mon, Jun 17, 2019 - Page 3 News List

Lu opposes changes to Referendum Act

By Jason Pan  /  Staff Reporter

Former vice president Annette Lu (呂秀蓮) yesterday joined academics and advocates opposing the Executive Yuan’s proposed amendments to the Referendum Act (公民投票法).

The amendments would infringe upon personal privacy, violate people’s voting rights and undermine the nation’s democracy, Lu said.

As the proposed amendments are to be reviewed in a provisional legislative session, Lu, along with civil society groups and delegates from the Stability Power Alliance, called on lawmakers to vote against them.

Lu and the others voiced opposition to requirements that people present photocopies of their national ID cards when signing referendum petitions and that referendums be decoupled from national elections.

“Upon hearing that, I got very angry, because the ruling party is taking away the voting rights of citizens on important public issues. The ID copy requirement will kill all referendum movements, because people will be scared to hand over their personal information. The government would be intruding into our privacy,” Lu said.

“Taiwan has been maligned around the world as the ‘kingdom of telecom scams’ and the signatures on referendum drives could be misused by criminals. Scammers could get their hands on the copies of people’s ID cards, through which they could steal people’s identities to carry out financial fraud and other illegal activities,” she added.

As for decoupling referendums from national elections, Lu said the issue arose from confusion in voting procedures concerning the 10 referendums that were held alongside local elections last year.

“However, referendums must be held in conjunction with national elections, because it is the only way to ensure a high turnout, so that the result can be validated,” Lu said.

Saying that the referendum threshold is already too high, as a referendum needs to have more than 25 percent of eligible voters casting ballots, she accused the Democratic Progressive Party of undermining Taiwan’s civic movement to promote citizens’ participation and voting on issues of public interest.

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