The Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) yesterday commenced its bid to collect 100,000 signatures in the first stage of a plan to call a referendum on the government’s planned economic cooperation framework agreement (ECFA) with China.
“We plan to have 100,000 individuals as our vanguard,” DPP Chairperson Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) told a press conference yesterday. “They will not only add 100,000 signatures to our petition for a referendum [on the ECFA issue], but these 100,000 will also each lobby 10 people to support the petition for the referendum proposal as well, amounting to 1 million signatures for a referendum.”
Tsai said the DPP planned to complete the collection of 100,000 signatures by the end of next month, and then send them with the referendum proposal to the Central Election Committee’s Referendum Review Committee.
The Referendum Act (公投法) stipulates that the signatures of 0.5 percent of eligible voters — approximately 80,000 people — must be collected to apply to hold a referendum.
In the second application stage, 5 percent of eligible voters — approximately 800,000 — must sign the petition before the proposed referendum can be screened by the Referendum Review Committee.
“We realize the current referendum law is flawed, with such a high threshold for a referendum, and that collecting 1 million signatures is a big challenge to the party. However, we want to tell the public that via the campaign we still have a weapon we can use to confront the Chinese Nationalist Party [KMT] and the government. People have the right to decide significant policies and their future by themselves,” Tsai said.
“Even if we are unable to gather enough signatures to force a referendum, the accumulation of lots of signatures expresses the public’s power,” she said.
Saying that signing an ECFA would change Taiwan’s future politically, economically, socially and culturally, Tsai told the press conference that it would be sad if in a democracy such a significant proposal could not be decided by the people.
“Through this campaign we hope to establish a standard that the government is obliged to have any significant national affairs decided through referendums, particularly cross-strait affairs which have caused controversy, confrontation and anxiety in society,” she said.
President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) has said on numerous occasions that he is opposed to an ECFA referendum, saying it was unnecessary because no political items would be included in the proposed agreement.
EFFICIENCY: The rules for Philippine arrivals were revised after 17.6% of arrivals with symptoms tested positive, compared with 0.7% of those with no symptoms Starting today, Chinese spouses who hold a reunion permit can apply to enter Taiwan and travelers without symptoms from the Philippines do not need to be tested for COVID-19 upon arrival, but are to be tested after a 14-day quarantine, the Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) said yesterday. Minister of Health and Welfare Chen Shih-chung (陳時中), who heads the center, said that from today, Chinese who are married to a Taiwanese citizen and hold a reunion permit can apply to the National Immigration Agency for entry into Taiwan. Chinese who are married to a foreign national and hold an accompanied reunion permit
PENGHU INSPECTION: Taiwan cannot let its enemies strut around in its airspace, Tsai said, one day after a Chinese spokesman denied a median line exists in the Taiwan Strait Following China’s assertion on Monday that there is no “median line” in the Taiwan Strait, President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) yesterday pledged to defend the nation’s airspace during a visit to an air force base in Penghu, saying that Taiwan cannot allow others to flex their military muscle in its territorial airspace. Tsai praised the “heroic performance” of the pilots of the Indigenous Defense Fighters who have been intercepting Chinese People’s Liberation Army Air Force planes in recent days. “I have a lot of confidence in you. As soldiers of the Republic of China [ROC], how could we let enemies strut
CONSOLIDATION? Taiwan Thinktank deputy executive-general Doong Sy-chi said Beijing’s intimidation tactics are further alienating those who identify as Chinese Only 2 percent of respondents to a poll on constitutional amendments and national identity identified as Chinese, while 62.6 percent identified as Taiwanese, the Taiwan Thinktank said yesterday. Legislators have proposed amendments to the Additional Articles of the Constitution (憲法增修條文), which would change the definition of the nation’s territory, remove the Taiwan Provincial Government as an entity, prioritize the use of “Taiwan” for national groups at international events, and remove restrictions on defining the national emblem, national flag and national anthem. The poll showed that 80.5 percent of respondents agreed that the nation should participate as “Taiwan” at events organized by world
MISTAKE: The Global Covenant of Mayors for Climate and Energy is not a UN body, and the government is committed to protecting the nation’s name, Joseph Wu said The Ministry of Foreign Affairs yesterday condemned the Global Covenant of Mayors for Climate and Energy for listing Taiwanese cities as belonging to China on its Web site, and asked that it correct the error. The organization was inaugurated in Brussels in 2016 as a global coalition of mayors committed to reducing greenhouse gas emissions. Six Taiwanese cities at the time joined the coalition as cities in “Taiwan,” the ministry said. However, officials from the Kaohsiung City Government — one of the organization’s members — last week noticed that the city was now listed on the organization’s Web site as a