Thu, Jun 20, 2019 - Page 3 News List

KMT to protest amendments to Referendum Act

‘AS SOON AS POSSIBLE’:The DPP has taken away referendums from people, so the KMT would take the presidency from it, KMT Chairman Wu Den-yih said yesterday

By Ann Maxon  /  Staff reporter

The Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) yesterday said it would hold demonstrations against amendments to the Referendum Act (公民投票法) that were passed on Monday, which it said undermine direct democracy.

The plan was proposed by KMT Chairman Wu Den-yih (吳敦義) at the weekly meeting of the KMT Central Standing Committee and passed unanimously.

Although no dates have been set yet, the party said in a statement that the demonstrations would be held “as soon as possible,” adding that members of the public are welcome to join them.

Wu described the amendments as oppressive and possibly unconstitutional, saying that they deprived people of the right to exercise direct democracy.

The amended act decouples referendums from national elections and stipulates that they be held on the fourth Saturday of August once every two years, starting in 2021.

Premier Su Tseng-chang (蘇貞昌), when he was the chairman of the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) in 2013, said that referendums held alongside elections could better reflect public opinion, Wu said.

Su’s remarks contradicts the amendments, showing that the DPP would sacrifice its policy goals to win elections, Wu added.

The KMT would work with civic groups to hold demonstrations so that President Tsai Ing-wen’s (蔡英文) administration would have to admit that the amendments were a mistake, he said.

“The DPP has taken away referendums, so we shall take away its presidency,” he said, urging people to vote the DPP out of power in next year’s presidential election.

At a news conference after the meeting, KMT Culture and Communications Committee director-general Cheng Mei-hua (程美華) told reporters at KMT headquarters that the party held its first meeting to discuss demonstration plans following the committee meeting.

All 35 KMT Central Standing Committee members, as well as party echelons at the headquarters and local charters, would participate in planning the demonstrations, she said.

Separately yesterday, the KMT Central Standing Committee passed a decision to have the party’s legislative caucus submit requests to the Executive Yuan, the Ministry of National Defense and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to report on an attack against Norwegian oil tanker Front Altair — which was transporting naphtha for CPC Corp, Taiwan — in the Gulf of Oman on Thursday last week.

The reports should include measures to improve the safety of tankers transporting oil to Taiwan and plans for obtaining compensation, the KMT said in a statement.

The attack, which caused estimated losses of NT$8 million (US$255,183), concerns Taiwan’s oil supply, yet Tsai, Su and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs have said nothing, the party said.

Additional reporting by CNA and staff writer

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