The Appendectomy Project — a campaign to recall Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) legislators Wu Yu-sheng (吳育昇), Alex Tsai (蔡正元) and Lin Hong-chih (林鴻池) — gained traction yesterday as its signature drive to recall Tsai entered its second phase.
By law, 13 percent of eligible voters, or 38,939 people in Tsai’s constituency, which includes Taipei’s Neihu (內湖) and Nangang (南港) districts, must sign the petition within 30 days for the campaign to enter its third and final phase: A referendum on whether Tsai gets to keep his post.
The Central Election Committee said that the recall campaign against Tsai passed its first phase on Monday last week, which required the support of 2 percent of eligible voters in the constituency — close to 6,000 people.
Tsai declined to comment on the announcement beyond saying: “Congratulations.”
The project plans to set up stands to collect signatures for the petition next to polling stations on Nov. 29 during the nine-in-one elections in a bid to collect a large number in a single day.
The project’s spokesperson, known as “Mr Lin From Taipei (台北林先生),” who often makes public appearances clad in a surgical cap and mask, told the Taipei Times that garnering support for the petition was not easy, with 50 signatures collected in one day considered “relatively fruitful.”
“We are trying to focus our efforts on election day. As long as one in 10 voters signs our petition, we will make it past the 13 percent mark in one day,” Lin said, adding that the project hopes to collect 100 to 200 signatures a day in the two weeks before the elections.
“Many people do not know that the law allows citizens to recall politicians, so we need to help people become more familiar with the idea,” he added.
Although the project also submitted petitions to recall Wu and Lin Hong-chih early last month, the Central Election Commission cited erroneous information in the forms of many signers of the petitions, which made both campaigns fall short of the required 2 percent threshold, Lin said.
The organizers have since resubmitted the petitions and expect the campaigns to proceed before Nov. 29, Lin added.
Prior recall campaigns, including one against Wu last year, rarely passed the threshold, with the last recall referendum held more than 20 years ago.
Voters who participated in the petition’s first phase are disqualified from its second phase, which makes the campaign more challenging, organizers said.
The name “Appendectomy Project” was chosen because in Mandarin Chinese, the term for pan-blue-camp legislators, lan wei (藍委) is pronounced the same as “appendix” (闌尾).
The project said the three KMT legislators have failed the public by adhering solely to President Ma Ying-jeou’s (馬英九) instructions.
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