Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) members worried about December’s referendum vote after a recall vote on Saturday are calling for more campaigning to avoid another setback.
The recall of Taiwan Statebuilding Party Legislator Chen Po-wei (陳柏惟) has sparked concern within the DPP of a snowball effect heading into the referendums on Dec. 18, sources said.
On the ballot will be questions related to banning the importation of pork containing traces of the leanness-enhancing additive ractopamine, relocation of a natural gas terminal to protect algal reefs off Taoyuan’s Guanyin District (觀音), activating the Fourth Nuclear Power Plant in New Taipei City’s Gongliao District (貢寮) and holding referendums alongside elections.
Photo: Liao Chen-huei, Taipei Times
The DPP earlier this year planned to hold more than 300 explanatory sessions across the nation, but due to a COVID-19 outbreak that began in May and the postponement of the referendum vote from August, they have yet to happen.
The Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) is hoping to ride the surge following Chen’s recall, leading to calls within the DPP to meet the challenge head-on as time is running short.
Sources said the DPP intends to restart the postponed explanatory sessions to open a public dialogue on the referendum topics.
DPP caucus whip Liu Shyh-fang (劉世芳) on Saturday said the government is facing a tough battle and needs to tread lightly, as the referendum would represent a vote of confidence on its policy.
Suggesting that the government treat the referendum like a general election, she said officials need to come out and explain their positions in plain language.
She recommended the DPP bring together experts and organizations to hold discussions with the public, meeting them where they are.
DPP caucus secretary-general Tsai Shih-ying (蔡適應) echoed the call, adding that the party must defend these challenges to the administration if it hopes to prevent the referendums from passing.
Meanwhile, KMT Chairman Eric Chu (朱立倫), fresh off the recall victory, told a news conference that the party would put its full weight behind the referendums.
Seeking to focus on what it believes are the weaknesses of the DPP administration, the KMT hopes people will cast a vote of no confidence on the government with the referendums, he said.
After the recall election, the party cannot waste even a day before pushing for its next goal, KMT Culture and Communications Committee director-general Ling Tao (凌濤) said yesterday.
The think tank, and the legislative and central arms of the party have already agreed on the importance of the referendums, he said, promising a comprehensive strategy within the week.
Referendums are not an election, but a demonstration of the people’s will, he said, adding that the KMT would stand on the people’s side — that is, they are hoping for a “yes” across the board.
Additional reporting by Lee Hsin-fang and Chien Hui-ju
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