Archive for April 23rd, 2010

Friday, April 23, 2010

Referendum on ECFA: how it might happen

He doesn’t oppose a referendum on ECFA, Taiwan’s president Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) said last week. However, the government has no authority to initiate a proposal to hold a referendum, he added.

But it will probably be up to his procurators in the referendum screening committee to review the matter.

The current referendum process was kicked off by former president Lee Teng-hui‘s (李登辉) Taiwan Solidarity Union (TSU) on March 21 this year. A petition for a referendum needs to pass two thresholds of popular support. A first petition needs signatures from at least 0.5 per cent, or 86,608 of the 17,321,622 eligible voters in the last presidential election. The referendum screening committee, apparently not directly belonging to the cabinet, but its members recommended by it and appointed by the president, will review the petition and its conformity with the requirements of the Referendum Act.

The petition concerning a referendum on ECFA was filed with the Central Election Commission on Friday (today, GMT), reportedly with signatures of 110,000 supporters, which would be 23,392 more than required in this first phase. Before passing the petition on to the screening committee, the Election Commission will probably have household registration authorities check that the signees of the petition were indeed eligible voters, and that no signatures were duplicated.

In a second phase, if passed by the screening committee, the referendum’s initiators will need to collect signatures from 5 percent, or 866,081 eligible voters, for the question to be put to referendum.

But Tsay Ting-kuei (蔡丁貴), convenor of the Taiwan Referendum Alliance, told the Taipei Times on April 13 that although it would be nice to see the TSU petition for a referendum passed by the Central Election Committee and for the second stage of the petition process to begin, “we do not anticipate this will happen under the current atmosphere created by [President] Ma Ying-jeou’s administration.

Hong Kong’s Ta Kung Pao, a Beijing-leaning paper, apparently doesn’t expect a referendum either:

[Presidential] aides say that while the Green Camp is now strongly against ECFA, one has to remember that all the Ma government’s decisions since it assumed office have proven to be accurate. Now the DPP ostensibly condemns ECFA, but they do actually know that when ECFA comes into effect, it will invigorate Taiwan’s economy, enhance the competitiveness of Taiwan’s exports, and when it leads to the government’s success, the DPP will definitely pretend once again that this wasn’t the case. The Ma government believes that promoting ECFA amounts to step-by-step improvement, and the gains will emerge over time.

幕僚表示,虽然绿营现在反ECFA的声势浩大,但回顾 马政府上任以来各种政策推行,几乎每一项民进党都反对,但最后都证明政府决策正确性没有问题。现在民进党表面上骂ECFA,其实他们也知道,等 ECFA真的上路后,将可以活络台湾经济,提升台湾出口竞争力,等到政府真的做出成绩,民进党肯定会再假装没有这回事;马政府相信,推动ECFA也会像「倒吃甘蔗」, 成果将会随时间加乘浮现。

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Related
April 25 ECFA Debate Broadcasting Schedule, 2010
Lee Teng-hui: ECFA first Step in Annexation, April 18, 2010
Hong Kong: How to Corrupt an Open Society, Aug 29, 2009

Friday, April 23, 2010

Drop that Trident

Pretty unnoticed outside the Empire, a potential prime minister made his critics go ballistic in a global security row.

Let me answer that directly because I think it’s important. I think the most important duty of any government, anyone who wants to be Prime Minister of this country, is to protect and defend our United Kingdom. And are we really happy to say that we’d give up our independent nuclear deterrent when we don’t know what is going to happen with Iran, we can’t be certain of the future in China, we don’t know exactly what our world will look like? I say we should always have the ultimate protection of our independent nuclear deterrent.  That’s why we voted to make sure that happened.

David Cameron, leader of the Conservative Party and the UK opposition in Parliament, replying to Liberal Democrats leader Nick Clegg‘s question in the prime ministerial debate (BBC, April 15) if the Trident nuclear system was still important.

To put China and Iran in the same bracket is an insult to a follow [or fellow] permanent member of the UN security council and to a country with whom we have just announced a close strategic relationship. David Cameron should withdraw this slur now.

David Miliband, UK foreign secretary, in a statement shortly after the debate

The reality is that Cameron forgot who the superpower is. […] Crucially, courting China will play a key role in dealing with the pressing Iranian nuclear issue. China is Iran’s biggest export partner, and sells it back refined oil. Time magazine urged Barack Obama this month to ‘replace US outdated ideas for dealing with China’ and ‘to move beyond cold war containment’.

James Denselow, journalist, in the Guardian, April 22, 2010

Any Chinese who vote for the Tories are turkeys voting for Christmas. Or ducks voting for the spring festival. With hoi sin sauce, if not relish

Anna Chen (Madam Miaow), Labour List, April 15 or 16

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