The Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) plans to collect signatures on Saturday and Sunday at 159 locations nationwide in support of a referendum to overturn the government’s decision to allow imports of pork containing ractopamine residue, KMT Chairman Johnny Chiang(江啟臣) said in Taipei yesterday.
The lifting of the ban on imports of pork containing traces of the animal feed additive took effect on Friday last week.
At the KMT’s first weekly Central Standing Committee meeting of the year, Chiang accused the Democratic Progressive Party of ignoring consumers’ and the food industry’s concerns, as well as the pressure felt by domestic hog farmers since the policy came into effect.
He said that staff at the KMT’s headquarters and local chapters are ready to collect signatures over the weekend, after which, the party would continue to gather signatures by setting up booths in crowded areas, he said.
People would also be able to sign the petition at the offices of the KMT’s elected representatives and local chapters, as well as participating shops, Chiang said.
The party is in the process of building a Web site for the campaign, where people would be able to download a copy of the petition form, look for drop-off locations and receive regular updates, he said.
Photo: Liu Hsin-de, Taipei Times
The referendum proposed by the KMT would ask whether people agree that the government should impose a complete ban on the importation of meat, offal and related products from pigs that have been given ractopamine.
The proposal is officially headed by KMT Legislator Lin Wei-chou (林為洲).
The KMT launched its “food safety” referendum campaign on Sept. 6 at its National Congress in Taipei, after President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) announced on Aug. 28 that the government would ease restrictions on imports of US pork containing traces of ractopamine.
Now in the second stage of the petition process, the KMT must submit nearly 290,000 valid signatures, or no less than 1.5 percent of the total number of voters in the most recent presidential election, in line with the Referendum Act (公民投票法), for its referendum question to be put to a vote.
The KMT aims to gather at least 500,000 signatures, Lin told a news conference on Tuesday, adding that this was because some signatures might be invalidated.
To be able to hold the referendum in August, the KMT must submit the petition forms to the Central Election Commission for review by March 21, he said.
Under the act, Aug. 28 is the next possible date for a referendum in Taiwan.
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