Taiwan to hold 7 referendums during Nov. local elections

Referendums on energy, education, exports, same-sex marriage to be held during local elections on Nov. 24

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Taiwanese voters going to the polls in a previous election.

Taiwanese voters going to the polls in a previous election. (By Associated Press)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) – Taiwan is set to hold seven referendums on a range of social and economic issues at the upcoming local and regional elections on Nov. 24, after a meeting by the Central Election Commission (CEC, 中央選舉委員會) accepted six referendum proposals on Oct. 9, reported CNA.

The people of Taiwan are set to have their voices heard on a range of issues relating to energy policy, education, imports, and same-sex marriage.

In Dec. 2017 the Referendum Act (公民投票法) was reformed by the Legislative Yuan (立法院), which relaxed the requirements for a public-instigated referendum. Under the new system, signatures from 1.5 percent of the electorate (around 280,000 people) are required to force a referendum on an issue.

The reform has significantly lowered barriers to practices of direct democracy, and paved the way for legislation-mandated oversight by the CEC. This has led to significant increases to calls for referendums by the public and civil society groups.

The CEC is working through 10 referendum proposals, which exceeded the minimum requirements. The CEC accepted six referendum proposals during a meeting on Oct. 9, and previously accepted a referendum asking whether Taiwan should stop competing under the name “Chinese Taipei” in international sporting events.

According to CNA, the seven referendum proposal questions accepted by the CEC are outlined below:

  • "Do you agree the electricity output of thermal power plants should be lowered by "at least 1 percent per year on average?'"
     
  • "Do you agree that Taiwan should establish an energy policy that undertakes not to construct any new coal-fired power plants or generators or expand existing facilities (including the expansion of the Shen'ao Power Plant)?"
     
  • "Do you agree the government should maintain the ban on imports of agricultural products and food from areas in Japan affected by the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant disaster on March 11, 2011, including Fukushima, Ibaraki, Gunma, Tochigi and Chiba prefectures?"
     
  • "Do you agree to types of unions, other than those stated in the marriage regulations in the Civil Code, to protect the rights of same-sex couples who live together permanently?"
     
  • "Do you agree that Civil Code regulations should restrict marriage to being between a man and a woman?"
     
  • "Do you agree that the Ministry of Education and individual schools should not teach homosexual-related education, as detailed under the Enforcement Rules for the Gender Equity Education Act, in elementary and middle level schools?"
     
  • "Do you agree that Taiwan should apply to participate in all international sporting events, including the 2020 Olympic Games in Tokyo, using the name 'Taiwan?'"

The CEC said that it found signs of potential fraud in review of all referendum proposals, and vowed to follow this up in accordance with the law.

The CEC will meet again on Oct. 16 to discuss the outcome of the remaining three proposed referendums.