The Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) yesterday said that it has collected more than 500,000 signatures supporting each of its proposals to hold national referendums on imported pork containing trace amounts of ractopamine and when referendums should take place.
KMT Legislator Lin Wei-chou (林為洲) is the lead proponent of a referendum that would ask voters if they agree that the government should impose a complete ban on imports of meat, offal and related products from pigs that were given the animal feed additive.
The KMT first raised its “anti-ractopamine pork” or “food safety” referendum proposal in September last year, days after President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) on Aug. 28 announced that the government would ease restrictions on imports of US pork containing ractopamine residue and beef from cattle aged 30 months or older. The policy went into effect on Jan. 1.
The other referendum question, initiated by KMT Chairman Johnny Chiang (江啟臣), would ask voters if they agree that referendums should be held on the same day as nationwide elections if an election is scheduled to take place within six months of a proposal to hold a referendum being approved.
The KMT on Jan. 9 launched the second phase of its signature drive for the referendums, Chiang told a news conference in Taipei.
In less than a month, it has collected more than 500,000 signatures for each of the two proposals, he said.
They crossed the 500,000 mark on Friday, he said, adding that the number of signatories is expected to grow.
The speed at which the KMT was able to collect signatures was “very rare” for referendum campaigns, Chiang said.
He said that the petition forms represented the public’s dissatisfaction with the Democratic Progressive Party’s “neglect of food safety and inconsistent [stance] on direct democracy.”
He urged people to vote on Aug. 28 to decide on food safety standards and “to make the final decision for our next generation.”
Aug. 28 is the next possible date for a referendum under the Referendum Act (公民投票法).
The KMT would review and tabulate the signatures, and expects to submit them to the Central Election Commission in about a month, the party said in a statement.
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