Tuesday, July 08, 2014

Ex-DPP leader Lin launches a reform institute

PEOPLE RULE:Lin I-hsiung announced a foundation that intends to change the laws about referendums and recalls so that ‘people can determine their fate’
By Chris Wang  /  Staff reporter

Former Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) chairman Lin I-hsiung (林義雄) has established a new foundation to promote amending the Referendum Act (公民投票法), the Civil Servant Election and Recall Act (公職人員選舉罷免法) and the Constitution so that “Taiwanese people could determine their own fate through a democratic process.”

The People Rule Foundation (人民作主教育基金會) plans to launch its first official event — a march around the nation — in September, beginning in the eastern counties of Taitung and Hualien, the foundation said in its mission statement issued yesterday.

The foundation said that, more than 20 years after the nation’s transformation into a democracy, Taiwanese have found that democracy remains “fragile and incomplete,” as people cannot determine their own futures, and the ones in power have kept that from happening — so their power would be consolidated.

The foundation said that was why it has listed three goals as its mission, including amending the Referendum Act and lowering the high threshold related to national referendums.

The Civil Servant Election and Recall Act is also a target for reform, as it prevents the financially challenged from participating in politics; keeps smaller parties from winning legislative seats and makes recalling incompetent legislators almost impossible.

The foundation said that the nation’s Constitution should be amended because it “no longer fits the need of modern Taiwanese society,” with a poorly designed central government system, an electoral system that favors larger political parties and a design that exacerbates imbalanced development between the cities and rural areas.

“We will try to develop the people’s shared values that they be the master of the country by practicing nonviolent activities... Taiwan’s democracy can be strengthened and deepened only when its people are able to be the final decisionmakers on major policies,” the foundation said.

Officially established on July 4, Independence Day in the US, the foundation said it reflects Taiwanese determination of their pursuit of independence and liberty.

In the upcoming round-the-nation march, participants are to march silently without waving flags or using loudspeakers, the foundation said.

Lin, a lifelong antinuclear and democracy advocate, made his first public appearance — an event organized by the foundation in New Taipei City’s Tamsui (淡水) on Saturday — since he was briefly hospitalized after a seven-day hunger strike against the government’s pro-nuclear policy in late April.

Lin went into a hiatus in his hometown of Yilan County until Saturday.

He has organized at least four round-the-nation marches previously — in 1994, 1997, 2002 and 2009 — for promoting an antinuclear campaign and civil participation in cross-strait negotiations.