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Taiwan's DPP seeking to drum up enthusiasm ahead of 4-vote referendum

You Ying-lung argues DPP's '4 votes' campaign shows less 'people-oriented leadership'

President and DPP Chairperson Tsai Ing-wen attending Dec. 12 rally against referendum. 

President and DPP Chairperson Tsai Ing-wen attending Dec. 12 rally against referendum.  (CNA photo)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — Taiwanese will vote to either accept or reject four political proposals on Saturday (Dec. 18), with Taiwanese Public Opinion Foundation (TPOF) indicating unaffiliated voters will play a decisive role.

On Saturday, up to 19.88 million people are eligible to cast a vote on whether to ban American pork products laced with the leanness-enhancing agent ractopamine, relocate a natural gas terminal project in Taoyuan to protect algal reefs, restart construction on the Fourth Nuclear Power Plant in New Taipei City, and hold future referendums alongside presidential elections.

The results of the referendum could reverse course on the country's energy and trade policy. They could also be a barometer for the legislative by-elections and local elections in 2022 and the presidential election in 2024.

However, the result of the referendum might not go as the Democratic Progressive Party's (DPP) hopes for, according to a poll, which shows that 27% of DPP supporters would vote against ractopamine-laced pork imports, while up to 65% of unaffiliated voters and 89% of KMT supporters would do the same. This makes that proposal the most likely to succeed.

"The ruling party is trying to unleash the power of its young supporters by holding nationwide offline and online events, including rallies, as well as appeal to nonpartisan voters, in the name of safeguarding national security to stir the sense of crisis with the hopes to change the course," TPOF Chairman You Ying-lung (游盈隆) claimed in a post on Monday (Dec. 13).

The electoral threshold for each issue is 4.98 million votes.

Voting to ban ractopamine could hurt Taiwan's chances to join the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP) and the prospects of a bilateral trade agreement with the U.S.

You questioned the DPP's referendum campaign to urge people to vote against all four questions, saying it violates the spirit of the democratic mechanism in his opinion.

"It's bizarre to hear the Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) government describing the Kuomintang's referendum promotion campaign as a hindrance to the country's progress and calling for people to stand up against all the KMT's proposals, making it become more like a power struggle between two major political parties than a rationale debate," the pollster complained in his post.