[JURIST] The Taiwanese Central Election Commission [official website] said Saturday that two national referendums [JURIST report] on whether to proceed with a proposed bid for United Nations (UN) [official website] membership have failed. The Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) [party website], headed by outgoing Taiwanese President Chen Shui-Bian, put forth one of the referendums which sought reinstatement to the UN under Taiwan's own name as a means of asserting the island's independence. The other referendum, supported by the opposing Kuomintang [party website; Global Security backgrounder], would have sought membership for the country under its official name, the Republic of China, or another unspecified alternative. Neither proposal received the roughly 8.5 million votes required to pass.
The referendums were held in conjunction with Taiwan's national presidential elections on Saturday. Former Kuomintang party chairman Ma Ying-jeou received about 58 percent of the popular vote to defeat the DPP candidate and win the presidency. Taiwan [JURIST news archive] was kicked out of the UN by General Assembly Resolution 2758 [PDF text] and replaced by the People's Republic of China [JURIST news archive] as the representative of China in 1971. Taiwan has applied for reinstatement to the UN for each of the last 15 years though each application for membership has been rejected [JURIST report]. AP has more.