Human rights issues can no longer be the subject of referendums in Taiwan

Referendums no longer have to be held on election day

The Cabinet has approved changes to referendum legislation.

The Cabinet has approved changes to referendum legislation. (CNA photo)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) - According to Cabinet revisions Thursday, human rights issues can no longer become the subject of referendums if the outcome might go counter to international human rights agreements or relevant legislation, while additional rules will allow voting on different days from elections.

Last November’s nine-in-one local and regional elections, in combination with 10 referendums, provoked widespread complaints about long waiting times and chaos. In addition, results going against an earlier Constitutional Court decision favoring the introduction of same-sex marriage led to demands to remove human rights issues from the referendum process.

Changes passed by the Cabinet Thursday but still needing the approval of the Legislative Yuan also include an extension of the minimum time for approving a referendum from one month to three months, the Central News Agency reported.

For the first time, referendums will also be allowed to take place on days when there are no elections.

After complaints that too many deceased showed up on the name list of signatories for referendum proposals, the amended law will require that signatories provide a copy of both sides of their ID.

A referendum question will not be allowed to exceed 50 Chinese characters, while applicants will have to provide an abbreviated version of the question not longer than 10 characters, with the rationale behind the referendum topic numbering 1,000 characters at most, CNA reported.

Advertising for or against a referendum issue will be banned the day of the vote, according to the government proposal.