The Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) yesterday said it has collected more than 320,000 signatures backing its petition to hold a national referendum on the importation of pork containing the animal feed additive ractopamine.
The KMT is holding a signature drive to push for a public referendum on imported pork with racotpamine residue, and another referendum on when referendums should take place.
The first proposal, officially headed by KMT Legislator Lin Wei-chou (林為洲) and variously referred to by the party as the “anti-ractopamine pork” or “food safety” referendum, would ask voters if they agree that the government should impose a complete ban on the importation of meat, offal and related products from pigs fed with ractopamine.
Photo: Lin Liang-sheng, Taipei Times
The second referendum proposal, of which KMT Chairman Johnny Chiang (江啟臣) is the lead proposer, would ask voters if they agree that referendums should be held on the same day as a nationwide election if the election is scheduled to take place within six months of a proposal to hold a referendum being approved.
According to law, referendums from this year onward can be scheduled once every two years on the fourth Saturday of August, making Aug. 28 the next possible date.
As of yesterday, petitions for both referendum questions have surpassed the number of signatures that are legally required for the proposals to advance, Chiang told a weekly KMT Central Standing Committee meeting in Taipei.
More than 319,000 signatories have backed the party’s call for a vote on whether future referendums should be tied to general elections, while its petition for a “food safety” referendum has received more than 320,000 signatures, he said.
Under the Referendum Act (公民投票法), the KMT must submit valid signatures from no less than 1.5 percent of the total electorate in the most recent presidential election — or nearly 290,000 people — for its proposed questions to be put to vote.
Central Election Commission data showed that 19,311,105 people were eligible to vote in the presidential election on Jan. 11 last year.
Chiang said that to prevent duplicate and other invalid signatures, as well as possible “manipulation” by the Democratic Progressive Party, from harming its efforts, the KMT is to continue its signature drive.
Its goal is to collect 500,000 signatures for each proposal before the Lunar New Year, he added.
The Lunar New Year falls on Feb. 12 this year.
Each box of petition signatures represents people’s “strong backlash” against the government’s decision to allow imports of US pork containing ractopamine, as well as people’s expectations for the KMT, Chiang said.
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