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Student activist leaders start 'Taiwan March' group

Student activist leaders Lin Fei-fan (林飛帆) and Chen Wei-ting (陳為廷) yesterday announced their launch of a new citizen group that would push for reforms on the current referendum system.

Roughly a month after retreating from their occupation of the Legislative Yuan, the two activists and college politics professor Huang Guo-chung (黃國昌) decided that they would push to abolish the 50-percent voter mark in national referendums, a rule that calls for half the number of legitimate voters in the nation to vote for the same cause in a referendum for that cause to take effect.

The trio and the new group were not looking to become a new political party nor nominate any candidates for future political elections, said Chen in response to many guesses from local media outlets.

Named “Taiwan March (島國前進),” the group will be calling for changes in Taiwan's political scene through citizen movements; the first petition it has planned to launch was to scrap the “birdcage referendum” rule, which requires over 50 percent of voters to turn out. “(We) hope to push for the amendment of the Referendum Act and call for the government to 'return the rights to the people,'” said Lin.

The next task on Taiwan March's agenda is to keep tabs on the Legislature as it reviews the special draft bill for Taiwan's free economic pilot zones, the Cross-Strait Trade in Services Agreement and a supervisory law concerning cross-strait pacts, said Lin.

Lin and Chen had previously led the student and citizen movements in protest of the hasty passage of the services trade pact in March.

“The decision had been made after a month's discussions ... a lot of people thought ill of our decision and thought that we would be alone when we insisted on choosing this path. We had been hesitant and even thought we'd stop doing anything ... but our previous teammates have been holding workshops and training new group leaders after the protests ended, and they have been doing a good job,” said Lin. “Frankly, we have been slow to take the next step compared to our teammates.”

Lin also stressed that the media had focused too much on Chen and himself, saying that the reports had glossed over the efforts of many others who also deserved credit. Several movements that branched from the Sunflower Student Movement include a plan to impeach several Kuomintang (KMT) legislators, workshops for students and citizens interested in the nation's future and the planning of grassroots forums — all calling upon citizens to take matters into their own hands.

“All these people have contributed more than we did; for us, this new group may be our way to compensate for what we have not done during this time,” said Lin.

May 19, 2014    edann77@
How is lowering the 50% voter turnout rule in national referendums going to help Taiwan??!

Lowering the threshold may lead to easier political manipulation by harnessing citizen frustration and anger at government, not related to a referendum issue, into a single vote against the ruling government. It may actually result in more rule by emotions than by thoughtful consideration.

The Nuke4 proposed referendum is already wrought with political partisanship and little intelligent debate. The result is a misguided debate about the 50% voter turnout threshold, and a referendum question that offers the people of Taiwan false or bottled-up choices.

Both the ruling and opposition parties have failed to enlighten the issue. Sorry, but I don't see much intelligent input from the protest students and groups as well.
May 20, 2014    ntcmtlpeterlee@
edann77@ wrote:
How is lowering the 50% voter turnout rule in national referendums going to help Taiwan??!

Lowering the threshold may lead to easier political manipulation by harnessing citizen frustration and anger at government, not related to a referendum issue, into a single vote against the ruling government. It may actually result in more rule by emotions than by thoughtful consideration.

The Nuke4 proposed referendum is already wrought with political partisanship and little intelligent debate. The result is a misguided debate about the 50% voter turnout threshold, and a referendum question that offers the people of Taiwan false or bottled-up choices.

Both the ruling and opposition parties have failed to enlighten the issue. Sorry, but I don't see much intelligent input from the protest students and groups as well.
As far as I can see, the 50% voter turnout rule was proposed by KMT who are trying to defeat DPP's attempt to replace the nuclear energy with renewable in generation of electrical power for Taiwan. My question is: if there is any similar voter turnout rule existing for president election in Taiwan?( sorry for this question, because I have been absent from Taiwan over 20 years.)

As far as safety or security is concerned, renewable energy is far better than nuclear, and most Taiwanese agree to this point. However, neither KMT nor DPP can present a practical, feasible and integrated plan to step-by-step replace nuclear energy with renewable. It looks like that DPP is much more concerned about this problem and has done more and proceeded further in this direction, but it will take a lot of time and effort for them to have a working plan in good shape. Once a practical and reliable action plan is ready, I believe most Taiwanese will vote for it in the referendum to come.

So far, I have dropped quite a few comments regarding Nuke 4 & renewable energy under several news items of China Post. I have got a vision or draft plan in my mind and would like to share it with DPP and anybody who concerns about the future of Taiwan. I sincerely hope that Taiwan shall be a clean island free from nuclear disasters.

Please inform as many people as possible to visit the English website 'Thinking Taiwan', check the label and see how far and how fast Taiwanese can advance in the right direction.
May 20, 2014    richchen35@
JAIL THESE TWO WANNABE DPP LAPDOGS......... NUISANCE STUDENT ACTIVIST TRYING TO CAPTURE MEDIA ATTENTION.
May 20, 2014    yao1931@
We hope this newborn Taiwan March, no matter what they are going to do, is a real independent group, not be taken advantage of by any other political parties, especially by the DPP.
May 21, 2014    ntcmtlpeterlee@
yao1931@ wrote:
We hope this newborn Taiwan March, no matter what they are going to do, is a real independent group, not be taken advantage of by any other political parties, especially by the DPP.
The young students are simple and enthusiastic idealists. Their ideas are absolutely right and worthy of consideration by all Taiwanese, so that a better future can be brought in.

On the other hand, political parties, whether KMT, DPP or whichever, are always trying to take advantage not just with this issue. If DPP can take advantage, KMT has more potential to do it, because it is the ruling party. So, no need for Taiwanese to bother which party is trying to take advantage. The attention of all Taiwanese should be focused on - which party can work out, by taking advantage of the current situation, the best result which will benefit Taiwan & all Taiwanese.
May 27, 2014    edann77@
ntcmtlpeterlee@

Sorry for the delayed reply. My earlier reply to you was not posted for some unknown reason. First, to answer your question.

I am not aware of any rule which stipulates a minimum 50% voter turnout rule for general elections. Taiwan has a plurality system in which the winner is decided by garnering the most votes. He/she doesn't require a clear majority (over 50%) of votes cast to win. He/she may in essence win with only 40% of the votes.

And no... the debate about lowering the 50% turnout threshold was proposed by the anti-nuclear or DPP camp.

The truth should be told. The referendum was agreed to by President Ma when there was still majority support. In my opinion, the DPP politicians in their usual unintelligent ways was too eager to jump onto the bandwagon by embracing the fear of nuclear power resulting from the Fukushima disaster into a general anti-nuke4 political campaign.

One day I hope Taiwan becomes nuke free, but this current debate isn't contributing. Renewable energy construction/production costs are two to seven times more than nuclear. Starting a massive renewable energy program today will take about five years before there's any significant energy production.

The problem is I am probably more familiar about renewable energy than the politicians who are trying to clamour for media attention. They've spent close to US$10 billion on nuke4 already, and they are willing to throw it away and bankrupt Taipower as a consequence.
May 27, 2014    edann77@
Taiwan's taxpayer is going to bear the brunt of the cost, and the people of Taiwan have already had to swallow stagnant income levels for the last ten years or so. Couple that with rising food costs and utility bills. How much more do these moronic politicians think the people will take before there will be calls for resignations or revolutionary protests?!

I have my ideas as to what changes need to occur, but the noise created by the circus performers will drown it out. Their main desire is to draw audience attention to themselves, and unfortunately even if it means sacrificing what will be beneficial for Taiwan.
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 Despite fears, Vietnam calm on set protest day 
Student activist leader Lin Fei-fan (林飛帆), center, speaks at a press conference yesterday at the launching of new citizen group “Taiwan March.”

(CNA

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