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Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD)

Both U.N. bid referendums vetoed

ROC Central News Agency

2008-03-22 22:26:05

    Taipei, March 22 (CNA) Two controversial referendums on Taiwan's quest for U.N. membership failed to pass a legal threshold Saturday, marking yet another blow to the pro-independence Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) administration.

    A total of 6,201,677 voters, or 35.82 percent of the electorate, took part in the DPP-initiated referendum asking voters whether Taiwan should join the United Nations under the name "Taiwan."

    The figure fell far short of the minimum 50 percent needed for the referendum to be counted valid.

    Among those who cast their ballots, 5,529,230 voted affirmatively while 352,359 cast "no" votes. The remaining 320,088 ballots cast were invalid.

    As for the main opposition Kuomintang (KMT) -initiated referendum on rejoining the United Nations under Taiwan's official title "Republic of China, " "Taiwan, " or any other suitable name, the participation rate was slightly lower at 35.74 percent.

    Among the voters, 4,962,309 cast affirmative ballots, compared to 724,060 who voted "no." An additional 500,749 ballots were invalid.

    According to the Referendum Act, a referendum requires the participation of at least 50 percent, or 8.7 million, of eligible voters, and the support of more than 50 percent of participating voters in order to be passed.

    The two referendums were doomed from the beginning in part because of the extremely high legal threshold they had to meet. The initiatives were also seen as political ploys that had little relevance for Taiwan's U.N. membership bid.

    The opposition camp saw the DPP's initiative as a tool to help it win votes in the presidential poll and launched a boycott against it. Worse still, it elicited explicit opposition from not only rival China but also Taiwan's longtime partner, the United States.

    As for the KMT-initiated question, it was generally seen as a countermeasure to prevent the DPP from gaining any edge in the presidential poll by branding the KMT as anti-democratic because of their opposition to referendums. The KMT itself provided little encouragement to its own supporters to vote on its own question.

    Taiwan, as the Republic of China, lost its U.N. seat to the People's Republic of China in 1971, and has made unsuccessful bids annually to rejoin the body since 1993.

(By Sofia Wu)

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