The importation of pork containing the feed additive ractopamine is not about politics, and legislators will be held accountable by the public and by history when they vote on the executive order covering the lifting of the ban on such imports, Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) Chairman Johnny Chiang (江啟臣) said yesterday.
Pork products with traces of ractopamine and food safety are “public issues, not political issues,” Chiang said on the sidelines of an event in Hualien County after reporters asked him if the KMT had planned any strategies on handling the vote planned for this week in the Legislative Yuan.
Public opposition to the government’s decision to allow imports of US pork containing ractopamine residue has remained strong since President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) announced on Aug. 28 that the government would ease the ban, he said.
People’s health should not be used as a bargaining chip, he added.
When members of the Legislative Yuan vote, they would be representing public opinion, not themselves, Chiang said.
Urging lawmakers to consider public opinion and concerns voiced by the public, he said that when they vote, they must be “accountable to history and to the people.”
“Many people joined the ‘Autumn Struggle’ march on Nov. 22, but the Democratic Progressive Party [DPP] chooses not to see or hear [them],” Chiang said later in the day, reiterating plans for the KMT to take to the streets of Taipei again this week.
While the KMT has fewer votes in the legislature than the DPP, DPP lawmakers should “stand on the side of public opinion,” he said.
The KMT would also begin collecting a second round of signatures for its two referendum proposals — one on when referendums are held, and the second on the importation of pork, pig offal and other products containing ractopamine, he said.
“If [the legislature] cannot block [the policy], we will use the people’s votes to block it,” he said.
The Central Election Commission on Friday announced that the two proposals could advance to the second stage of gathering signatures.
Also on Friday, cross-caucus negotiations reached a consensus that the legislature on Thursday would review nine administrative directives related to allowing US imports of pork containing ractopamine residue, and a vote on the nine directives is expected.
KMT caucus whip Lin Wei-chou (林為洲) on Saturday announced that the KMT caucus would stage two rallies in front of the Legislative Yuan’s Chun-hsien Building — on Wednesday evening and Thursday — to protest the government’s decision to lift the ban on the importation of US pork with ractopamine residue.
A large screen would be erected at the rally site to allow participants to watch a live broadcast of the legislative vote, Lin added.
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