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KMT to hold protest on referendum law revisions in July

2019/06/24 21:42:09

KMT HQ in Taipei (Google Map photo)

Taipei, June 24 (CNA) The opposition Kuomintang (KMT) announced Monday it will take to the streets next month to protest the Democratic Progressive Party's (DPP) recent passage of amendments to the Referendum Act that it says will "kill referendums and desert democracy."

The demonstration will take place on Ketagalan Boulevard in front of the Presidential Office on July 7 and welcomes all party members, civic groups and individuals unhappy with the amendments to take part, the KMT said in a statement.

The revisions to the Referendum Act pushed through by the DPP-controlled Legislative Yuan on June 17 restrict the holding of national referendums to only once every two years, on the fourth Saturday of August, starting in 2021.

The move came after DPP lawmakers in late 2017 passed an amendment making it easier to initiate referendums, which they said at the time would return power to the people.

That led to 10 referendum questions being put to a vote along with the November 2018 elections for local offices, in which the DPP suffered a big defeat.

The party attributed the defeat in part to some of the questions put on the ballot that highlighted some of its controversial policies and positions, and now it has decided to split up elections and referendums.

Following passage of the revisions, no referendums calling attention to sensitive issues the government would rather avoid will be included on the ballot when President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) runs for re-election in January 2020.

In a statement released last week, the opposition party slammed the DPP and the DPP-controlled Legislature for "killing referendums and deserting democracy."

On Monday, KMT Chairman Wu Den-yih (吳敦義) criticized the DPP for "confiscating" the true value and significance of a referendum and calling on all supporters to show up July 7 to protest against Tsai and her government.

In its statement, the party also expressed hope to see former Vice President Annette Lu (呂秀蓮) take part in the upcoming gathering in Taipei.

Lu served as vice president under then-President Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁) from 2000 to 2008.

Last week, she bashed the Tsai administration over the amendments, and urged the public to elect better legislators to make new revisions, saying the battle was not yet over.

On Monday, her office issued a response saying Lu will not be attending any political events during the election campaign period.

(By Wang Cheng-chung, Yeh Su-ping and Ko Lin)