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Former vice president proposes Taiwan neutrality referendum

2019/03/05 20:32:18

Annette Lu (呂秀蓮, left)

Taipei, March 5 (CNA) Former Vice President Annette Lu (呂秀蓮) presented a Taiwan neutrality referendum proposal to the Central Election Commission (CEC) Tuesday in the hope that the referendum will be held next January alongside the presidential election.

The CEC received 10,000 signatures from Lu and will convene a meeting to discuss follow-up procedures after an official count is completed.

Lu told reporters that she first announced her plan to push for a national referendum to declare Taiwan a peaceful and neutral nation in 2014.

Back then, her petition received tens of thousands of signatures, the veteran politician said.

However, she did not present the proposal at that time because the Legislative Yuan was in the process of amending the Referendum Act, she said.

Lu said she is planning to set up petition stations around the country in the hope that her proposal can make it to the second stage and be held alongside the 2020 presidential election.

In Taiwan, referendum organizers have to obtain signatures from at least 0.01 percent of the electorate to have a proposal sent to the CEC. Once approval here is granted, a second round of signatures has to represent at least 1.5 percent of the electorate.

This means that only 1,879 signatures are required in the first stage of a referendum drive and 281,745 in the second, based on the electorate of 18,782,991 in the 2016 presidential election.

Lu said she will also seek international publicity and support, adding that she is confident the referendum will pass if it makes it to the second stage.

She said the time is ripe to propose such a referendum, as the world is paying close attention to Taiwan.

Furthermore, she added, the United Nations passed a resolution in 2017 to support peace and neutrality.

Commenting on the difference between Taiwan neutrality and Taiwan independence, Lu said independence is related to its sovereignty. Taiwan held its first direct presidential election in 1996 and there is a presidential election every four years, which is an indication of Taiwan's sovereign independence.

Declaring neutrality, on the other hand, is a move with greater significance and is Taiwan's right and obligation, Lu said.

(By Elaine Hou and Chung Yu-chen)