Taiwan’s President Tsai Ing-wen attends a Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) rally on the eve of the referendum in Taipei, Taiwan on December 17, 2021. (Photo: Reuters / I-Hwa Cheng)
TAIPEI: Taiwanese people voted on Saturday (December 18) in referendums that could affect relations with key US supporters and the island’s energy security.
The elections are taking place as China put pressure on democratic Taiwan to accept Beijing’s claims to sovereignty, and tensions between the two have risen.
The main opposition party, the Kuomintang (KMT), came last Year she was beaten up in the presidential and parliamentary elections because she did not get rid of the allegations of the ruling Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) and President Tsai Ing-wen that the KMT was too close to China.
Of the four referendums, the ask two of the most controversial and prominent ones after a ban on imports of pork, which contains the leaner additive ractopamine, and whether the location of a planned liquefied natural gas (LNG) terminal would change rt is supposed to protect a reef.
The government approved pork imports last year in hopes of getting out of the way a stumbling block to a free trade agreement with its main international donor, the United States, where ractopamine is widely available and to show that it is a reliable partner.
The LNG terminal is to ensure the energy supply of the semiconductor-producing island and relocate the project further offshore in order to minimize the impact on the reef. The vote seeks complete relocation.
At a rally on Friday evening in central Taipei, KMT chairman Eric Chu called for a yes vote to block ractopamine pork for security reasons and relocate the LNG terminal , and sought a broader vote.
« There is no personal interest between individuals and parties, only the power of the whole people to stand up against the overbearing Tsai Ing-wen government, » he said.
At the DPP rally near the presidential office a short distance away, referring to the pork issue, Tsai urged people to « understand the situation in the country ».
« Let the international community see Taiwan’s determination and be ready be helping Taiwan overcome China’s political interference and make an appearance in the world. «
The KMT is also pushing for a » yes « vote in the third referendum to restart one mothballed nuclear power plant, saying this is the way to ensure Taiwan’s energy security. The government is committed to phasing out nuclear power.
Turnout is crucial. For a referendum to take place, at least 25 percent of the approximately 20 million eligible voters on the island must vote for it. So there must be at least about 5 million « yes » votes, and « yes » votes must exceed « no » votes.
If the referendums fail, this would be a setback for the KMT before the mayoral elections at the end of the next Year.
When asked on Saturday whether the day’s cold weather could affect voter turnout, Chu said he was « naturally concerned ».
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