Petition for referendum on impartial judiciary presented to CEC

Taipei, The office of former President Ma Ying-jeou (???) on Thursday presented a petition bearing nearly 3,000 signatures to the Central Election Commission (CEC) in the first step toward a referendum on whether obstruction of justice should be listed as a punishable offense in Taiwan.

The petition, initiated jointly by Ma's office and lawyer Chen Chang-wen (???), has easily cleared the initial threshold, as it required a minimum of only 1,879 signatures.

Once the nearly 3,000 signatures on the petition have been verified by the CEC, the second stage of the drive will be launched to collect the required 281,745 signatures, according to Lo Chih-chiang (???), who served as spokesman and deputy secretary-general of the Presidential Office under Ma.

The aim of the referendum is to close loopholes in the existing laws to prevent obstruction of justice through the use of power and money, two factors that Ma thinks can compromise the judiciary in a democracy, Lo said.

The petition is asking for a referendum on whether obstruction of justice should be listed as punishable crime in Taiwan's Criminal Code, he said.

Under Taiwan's recently amended Referendum Act, a referendum can be held once the initial petition clears the two signature stages.

For the referendum to pass, it will have to gain a majority vote by at least 25 percent of the electorate.

Source: Focus Taiwan News Channel