The Chinese Nationalist Party’s (KMT) two referendum petitions — one on banning the importation of pork with traces of ractopamine and the other on holding referendums on the same day as national elections — had as of Thursday gathered 691,398 and 674,497 signatures respectively, the party said yesterday.
If the petitions collect more than 700,000 signatures apiece, they would have garnered the most signatures in the shortest time since the Referendum Act (公民投票法) was amended in 2017, party officials said.
The KMT proposed the “anti-ractopamine pork” or “food safety” referendum just days after President Tsai Ing-wen’s (蔡英文) announcement on Aug. 28 last year that the government would ease restrictions on the importation of US pork containing ractopamine residues and beef from cattle aged 30 months or older. The policy took effect on Jan. 1.
The party’s other referendum, initiated by KMT Chairman Johnny Chiang (江啟臣), would ask whether people agree that referendums should be held on the same day as national elections if the election takes place within six months of the proposed referendum being approved.
In the signature drive — the second stage of the three-step process to hold a referendum — the act states that the KMT must collect the signatures of nearly 290,000 people, or 1.5 percent of the eligible voters in the most recent presidential election.
The collection of so many signatures in such a short time represents the public’s dissatisfaction with the Tsai administration’s policy on US pork with ractopamine residues, KMT Organizational Development Committee director-general Lee Che-hua (李哲華) said.
The party would continue to verify the validity of all signatures, calling on the Central Election Commission to remain politically neutral and review the referendum questions as soon as possible, he said.
The public has witnessed how Tsai, after obtaining a record 8.17 million votes in the presidential election last year, has gone back on her pledge to care for the people, prompting many to step up and express their outrage at what they perceive as mistakes made by the administration, the KMT said.
The KMT also urged the public to support a referendum proposal that aims to conserve the algal reef along the coastal area of Taoyuan’s Datan Borough (大潭), which is the habitat of many marine creatures.
Tsai has demonstrated that she is going back on her word to protect the environment by approving CPC Corp, Taiwan’s (CPC) bid to build a liquefied natural gas (LNG) terminal in Datan, KMT Culture and Communications Committee director-general Alicia Wang (王育敏) said.
The referendum was initiated last year by Rescue Datan’s Algal Reefs Alliance convener Pan Chong-cheng (潘忠政).
The referendum — which would pose the question: “Do you agree that CPC’s LNG terminal should be relocated from its planned site on the algal reef coast of Datan and its adjacent waters?” — had as of Wednesday collected 123,700 signatures, the alliance said.
Additional reporting by CNA
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