Today (1) city mayor Lin Chia-long and co-founders of Global Forum on Modern Direct Democracy Bruno Kaufmann and Joe Mathews signed a Memorandum of Understanding on “2019 Global Forum on Modern Direct Democracy”, declaring Taichung to be the host of 2019 forum.
Taichung is invited as one of the founding cities of “World Democracy City Alliance” which to be launched in Rome this September, together with the global forum in Taichung next year, Taiwan is one step closer to the global democracy community. Let’s hope for a better implementation of direct democracy in Taiwan, indicated Mayor Lin. The 1st Global Forum on Modern Direct Democracy was held in Aarau of Switzerland, and in Seoul of South Korea, San Francisco of USA, Montevideo of Uruguay, Tunis of Tunisia and San Sebastián of Spain in the years after. This year in Rome of Italy, the Forum will focus on referendum, digital democracy, human rights and other direct democratic political development issues, with more than 30 nations, 300 professionals from academia, politicians and activists. The forum will make declaration in the hosting city’s name based on global current democracy politics development status and principal issues.
As per Mayor Lin, Taiwan is 30 years deep in democratization; especially the re-election of president and Congress in the past decade and the amended “Referendum Act” has enhanced direct democracy. Therefore, the MOU between city government and Global Forum on Modern Direct Democracy for the 2019 Forum in Taichung will be a good timing as well as a key step for Taiwan to join the global democracy community, particularly Taichung being invited as one founding city to the Rome “World Democracy City Alliance” this September, a true honor that makes us all proud.
When asked why Taichung is chosen to be the city hosting Global Forum on Modern Direct Democracy, Mayor Lin believes that Taichung represents very much the progress of Taiwan’s democratization. From the Japanese ruled era, the petition for Taiwan Council originated in Taichung, to the Taiwan Provincial Consultative Council after WWII was founded in Wufeng, Taichung Today the central government supported INGO to be settled in Taichung provides yet another key factor to the qualification.
Mayor Lin also pointed out that the annual survey report of Freedom House has assessed Taiwan as most free on political rights, civil liberty and overall aspects, showing an achievement of the democratization in Taiwan. To implement direct democracy, the city government encourages citizen participation and municipal administration decision by founding Youth Affairs Deliberative Commission, participatory budgets, i-Voting, open data, etc. Through the knowledge exchange of professional academia and representatives from around the world who own experiences on direct democracy, the global forum shall contribute to the implementation of Taiwan direct democracy.
Bruno Kaufmann, the CEO of Global Forum on Modern Direct Democracy, referred to Taichung as an example of direct democracy, while that Mayor Lin also mentioned during the meeting the development history of democracy in Taichung. Both him and Mr. Joe Mathews made observations during this visit and realized that the city has many fundamental constructions regarding democracy: Youth Affairs Deliberative Commission, participatory budgets and the future INGO. Public voice will be heard in a well prepared environment such as Taichung.
Bruno Kaufmann also spoke of the global forum to be held in Rome in 26-29 of this September, where the “World Democracy City Alliance” is to be proposed with the most advanced member cities that promote democracy progress in the world; Mr. Kaufmann officially invited Taichung to be one of the founding cities, encouraging one another on the road of promoting citizen participation, participatory democracy and modern democratic structure.