Taiwan election commission approves three referendums to be held in August
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Taiwan election commission approves three referendums to be held in August

Taiwan’s Central Election Commission (CEC) on Friday approved proposals to hold three referendums on August 28, in addition to the nuclear power plant referendum already planned.

In a statement, the CEC said that it had “deliberated on, and approved, three referendums,” meaning each had passed the hurdle of 289,667 signatures needed before a referendum will be held. In order to pass, each referendum will have to secure a majority of votes in favor from at least 25 percent of the Taiwanese population.

The first referendum asks whether the government should prohibit imports of pork, offal or other related products that contain ractopamine, a leanness-enhancing additive that has been banned in EU countries and China, but which is still widely used in the US. The use of ractopamine was approved by the Taiwanese government last year in the hope that it would encourage a free trade agreement with the US. However, concerns over animal welfare and its suitability for human consumption have made it a point of lingering controversy.

The second referendum seeks to reform the referendum process in Taiwan, asking whether a referendum should be held concurrently with a national election if it complies with the Referendum Act and if the election is scheduled to take place within six months of the referendum being approved. Currently, referendums can only take place every two years under Taiwan’s Referendum Act. No nationwide elections are held in odd-numbered years.

The third and final referendum approved on Friday asks whether the site of a planned liquefied natural gas terminal should be moved to protect the marine environment. These three referendums join another that was approved in December 2020, which asks whether the government should continue building a stalled fourth nuclear power plant, despite its ongoing attempts to phase out nuclear power.

If these referendums are passed, the government is obliged to propose laws that give effect to this result.