DPP, Cabinet decide not to submit referendum proposal

04/11/2021 07:02 PM
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Supporters of a motion to vote on a new receiving terminal for liquified natural gas (LNG) on Taoyuan
Supporters of a motion to vote on a new receiving terminal for liquified natural gas (LNG) on Taoyuan's Datan Algal Reef. CNA file photo

Taipei, April 11 (CNA) The government and the legislative caucus of the ruling Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) will not initiate any referendum proposals in response to several questions on key policy issues set to be voted on in August.

The decision was the result of a consensus reached during a DPP meeting convened by President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) on Sunday attended by officials from the Presidential Office, the Cabinet, the DPP, legislators and mayors, according to Presidential Office spokesman Xavier Chang (張惇涵).

If the DPP or government agencies wanted to introduce any referendum initiatives of their own, they would have had to submit their proposals by the end of this week in accordance with the Legislative Yuan's timetable for referendums, Chang said.

With the deadline looming, the DPP held the meeting to discuss whether to introduce its own proposals to counter referendum questions that generally oppose DPP policies.

During the meeting, Tsai instructed government agencies to give top priority to handle the aftermath of a fatal train crash in Hualien on April 2 that left 49 people dead and help the injured and the families of those who died in the accident.

She also said that as the ruling party, the DPP has the responsibility to elaborate on the upcoming referendum issues to help ease public concerns and help people make correct choices in the vote, according to Chang.

DPP sources said the consensus came as most participants in the meeting thought the government should focus its efforts on dealing with the aftermath of the country's worst rail disaster in decades and TRA reforms.

The DPP had planned to hold more than 300 government policy briefings to counter the referendum proposals that have been approved for weeks if not months, with the first scheduled for Sunday, but it was postponed due to the accident, according to the sources.

There are four questions that will be put to referendum on Aug. 28, including one regarding the government's decision to lift a ban on pork imports containing ractopamine.

Other questions oppose the construction of a receiving terminal for natural gas that could threaten Taoyuan's Datan Algal Reef and support the activation of Taiwan's nearly completed but now mothballed Fourth Nuclear Power Plant, located in New Taipei.

The final referendum backs holding referendums on the same day as national elections, which had been allowed until the DPP decoupled the two after losing nationwide elections for local offices that coincided with 10 referendum questions in 2018.

(By Yeh Su-ping and Evelyn Kao)

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