Ex-DPP chair to take part in fast to push for Referendum Act change

2017/04/17 23:04:00 fontsize-small fontsize-default fontsize-big
(CNA file photo)

(CNA file photo)

Taipei, April 17 (CNA) A foundation said Monday it will launch a 16-day relay fast outside the headquarters of the ruling Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) to push for the revision of the Referendum Act, and former DPP Chairman Lin Yi-hsiung (林義雄) will take part.

The People Rule Foundation (人民作主教育基金會), which was initiated by Lin, said the fast relay is aimed at protesting what it called the foot-dragging by the Legislature on the issue. Foundation chairperson Chen Lih-kuei (陳麗貴), said the fast relay will start on April 26 at 10 a.m. and run through May 11 at 3 p.m., and each participant will fast at least one day in principle.

Lin, who is now a member of the foundation's board of directors, will take part in the fast on the last day to call for the Legislature to pass the revision by May 20.

"If the DPP does not respond, we will take even stronger follow-up action," Chen said.

The foundation said the Referendum Act, passed on Nov. 27, 2003 by a Kuomintang and People First Party-led Legislature, is filled with articles that go against the spirit of direct civil rights, such as a high threshold for proposing a referendum.

It argued that the Act also has an "unreasonably" high turnout rate required for its passage and provides for a referendum screening committee, which the group deemed undemocratic.

The foundation said the public has high expectations of the revision of the Referendum Act, but it accused the Legislature of dragging its feet.

In April 2014, the former DPP chair went on a hunger strike to call for the halt of work on the nearly completed fourth nuclear power plant construction, which contributed to the plant's shutdown before operations began.

In response to the foundation's appeal, Presidential Office spokesman Alex Huang (黃重諺) said amending the Referendum Act is the priority of this legislative session, but the office will respect the Legislature's procedures on setting its agenda.

(By Sophia Yeh and Lilian Wu)

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