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CEC approves 2 more referendum proposals, making 9 in total

2018/10/16 20:19:29

Image taken from Pixabay

Taipei, Oct. 16 (CNA) The Central Election Commission (CEC) approved two referendum proposals Tuesday, bringing the total number of referendums expected to be held in conjunction with local elections across Taiwan on Nov. 24 to nine.

The newly approved referendum proposals were both proposed by marriage equality advocates who believe the marriages of same-sex couples should be recognized as equal under the law to those of heterosexual couples.

In the two referendums, voters will be asked: "Do you agree that the Civil Code marriage regulations should be used to guarantee the rights of same sex couples to get married?"

The other question is: "Do you agree that gender equity education as defined in 'the Gender Equity Education Act' should be taught at all stages of the national curriculum and that such education should cover courses on emotional education, sex education and gay and lesbian education?"

A referendum proposed by those supporting "the simultaneous nurturing of green energy and nuclear power" failed to pass the CEC review on Tuesday because the number of qualified public endorsements for the proposal did not pass the legally required threshold.

This would involve developing green energy such as wind power and solar energy, while retaining nuclear energy as a stable source of electricity.

The referendum question asked voters: "Do you agree to abolish Section 1 of Article 95 of the Electricity Act, which states that 'all nuclear energy based power-generating facilities shall cease operations by 2025'?"

CEC spokesman Chen Chao-chien (陳朝建) declined to confirm whether voting on all nine approved referendum proposals will take place alongside the year-end government elections, but did say that the CEC will hold the referendums based on the law, which stipulates a referendum shall be held within one to six months after being approved.

If there is a national election within the period, the referendum shall be held on the same day as the national election, Chen said, citing the Referendum Act.

The planned nine-in-one elections for Nov. 24 will select mayors and city councilors in the special municipalities of Taipei, New Taipei, Taoyuan, Taichung, Tainan and Kaohsiung; county magistrates, mayors, councilors, town chiefs and town representatives in the other 16 counties and county-level cities; and village and ward heads in 22 localities.

Also to be held are elections for district chiefs and council members in six aboriginal districts in mountainous areas of New Taipei, Taoyuan, Taichung and Kaohsiung.

If voting on all nine proposed referendums does take place at the same time as the elections, voters could receive up to 14 separate ballots on voting day.

Only those aged 20 and above are allowed to vote in elections while referendums are opened to voters aged 18 and above, according to Taiwan's law.

The seven referendums approved by the CEC last Tuesday include one on whether Taiwan should apply to attend the 2020 Tokyo Olympics under the name "Taiwan," instead of "Chinese Taipei."

Others include three referendums opposed to same-sex marriage, one about the government's energy policy, one on air pollution control, and one concerning a ban on imports of agricultural products and food from areas of Japan affected by the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant disaster on March 11, 2011.

(By Claudia Liu and Elizabeth Hsu)
Enditem/AW