CEC hearings on KMT referendum proposals set for November

10/21/2020 10:32 PM
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Taipei, Oct. 21 (CNA) Taiwan's Central Election Commission (CEC) said Tuesday that it will hold hearings in early November on two referendum proposals put forth by the opposition Kuomintang (KMT), including one to overturn the government's new policy on imported pork.

In two statements, the commission said that on Nov. 3, it will hold the first hearing on a KMT petition to schedule referendums concurrently with national or local elections.

On Nov. 6, the second hearing will be held on the KMT's proposed referendum on maintaining the ban on imported pork containing residues of the livestock drug ractopamine, the CEC said.

The ban is scheduled to be lifted early next year, in line with a new government policy on American meat imports.

In addition to setting the hearing dates, the CEC said, it will review whether the pork petition meets the requirements for a "referendum on an important policy," meaning that the referendum results will have to be implemented by the government.

The CEC said it will also determine whether the petition on referendum dates qualifies as an "initiative on legislative principles," in which case it would be sent to the Legislative Yuan for review if passed.

The KMT submitted the two referendum proposals on Sept. 23 and is currently seeking CEC certification in the first of three stages of Taiwan's referendum procedure. Under the current law, the earliest possible date of a national referendum is Aug. 28, 2021.

When the commission said last week that it would hold hearings to "clarify" parts of the KMT proposals, the party protested that such a decision was contrary to the will of the people.

In a legislative hearing on Monday, however, CEC Chairman Lee Chin-yung (李進勇) said such hearings had become the norm since the commission was granted additional review powers in 2017.

(By Chen Chun-hua and Matthew Mazzetta)

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