The Central Election Commission (CEC) yesterday confirmed that a referendum to phase out thermal power plants proposed by Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) Legislator Lu Shiow-yen (盧秀燕) is to be held on Nov. 24 alongside the nine-in-one elections, but added that all forged signatures found in the petitions would be reported to prosecutors so that criminal charges could be brought.
It was “with a heavy heart” that the commission decided to pass the proposal and report the forgeries to prosecutors, commission Vice Chairman Chen Chao-chien (陳朝建) told a news conference in Taipei after a meeting to discuss how to handle the forged signatures.
Lu on Aug. 27 submitted to the commission 497,243 signatures backing the proposed referendum.
Photo: Liu Hsin-de, Taipei Times
Local household registration offices found 314,395 to be valid, after removing 182,848 signatures that failed to meet the legal requirements, the commission said, adding that the valid total still passed the legal threshold of 281,745.
The invalid signatures contained many forgeries, which accounted for 2.38 percent of all the signatures submitted, Chen said, adding that it is “not a small number.”
“It is 100 percent sure that they were forged because the signatures belong to people who had passed away before the proposal was launched,” he said.
Other examples of invalid signatures found included having an incorrect age, address, name, incomplete information or repetition of identity, he said.
“Forging signatures of people who have passed away must be condemned,” he said. “Referendums are an essential part of democracy and must be cherished. Attempts to undermine democracy and the referendum system cannot be tolerated.”
The commission is to activate procedures for pressing criminal charges by reporting all forged signatures to prosecutors, he said.
It would apply the same standards and procedures to every proposed referendum, and inform the public if similar cases have been found, he added.
He also said that the KMT’s claim that the commission had colluded with local household registration offices to add forged signatures to its referendum proposals was a “false accusation.”
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