Civic Groups Calls on CEC to Hold Referendum Debates 民團籲中選會 應辦公投辯論促雙方對話

With the four referendums taking place in December, civic groups and legislators called on the Central Election Commission to hold a debate to foster mutual understanding.

“Referendums must be debated. Democracy cannot rest.”

The referendums on December 18 are almost here. The first opinion presentation will take place on the 13th. Civic groups and legislators held a press conference to jointly call on the Central Election Commission to actively hold multiple debates. It cannot be only one party holding a press conference to express their view. Otherwise, the lack of debate will be a repeat of the 2018 referendums, where no debates were held.

Li Chien-cheng, Spokesperson, Anti-ractopamine Alliance: “We also want to appeal to the Central Election Commission to positively promote more debates instead of one-sided presentations.”

Pan Chung-cheng, Convener, Datan's Algal Reefs Alliance: “The Central Election Commission is open to holding debates. But both sides must agree at the same time for debates to be possible. But then the other side didn't want to debate.”

The leader of the save the algal reef referendum believes holding a hearing with legal effect is the most ideal. He has put forward the idea of the debate before, but no consensus has been reached. Citizen Congress Watch also stated that political parties should take responsibility and put forward public debates. Legislators suggested that the Legislative Yuan could hold a parliamentary-style debate on the referendums to make up for the current lack of debates.

Lin Wei-chou, Legislator (KMT): “There are no debates for the referendum. The CEC can't hold them. The Executive Yuan doesn't dare to hold them. The Legislative Yuan should do it then.”

Tsai Pi-ru, Legislator (TPP): “I hope Speaker Yu Shyi-kun has heard our call.”

Civic groups have sent debate invitation letters to each county and city's ruling party's headquarters. A referendum debate challenge event will be held in Kaohsiung on the 13th and 14th to promote debate and discussion. The CEC said 20 pre-referendum hearings will be held and more details will be announced on the 5th. While it insisted all matters would be handled in accordance with the law, the Commission had no comment on whether or not to hold debates.