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Taiwan Democracy train to begin journey
International

Taiwan Democracy train to begin journey

Agency News

Taipei, Taiwan, Sep 30 : Ahead of the 2019 Global Forum on Modern Direct Democracy, which will take place from 2 - 5 October in Taichung (Taiwan), the Forum has organised a pre-forum briefing tour on the Taiwan Democracy Train from Monday till Wednesday between Taipei and Kaohsiung.

This pre-forum briefing tour programme features a train between Taipei and Kaohsiung especially arranged for the Forum participants. The train will make several stops along the Taiwanese West coast in places key to democracy: Wanhua, Jongli, Hsinchu, Taichung, Chiayi and Tainan.

According to Bruno Kaufmann and Joe Mathews, the organisers of the Forum, the Taiwan Democracy Train will be a special train reserved uniquely for Forum participants and will bring together both Taiwanese democracy supporters and international participants of the Global Forum. At the various stops, there will be short input statements by international participants, walking tours on local democracy issues and opportunities to meet with local activists and democracy experts.

Opening ceremony will be hosted by the President of Taiwan, Tsai Ing-Wen and the Minister for Transportation and Communications Lin Chia-Lung –followed by a statement by Bruno Kaufmann. In the evening, a special event with Swissinfo will take place in in Taichung. The Global Forum on Modern Direct Democracy is the largest gathering devoted to direct democracy worldwide. It favours a multidisciplinary approach, welcoming participants from academic, political and civil society perspectives. It will be attended by activists, organisations and academics from all over the world.

Mr Joe Mathews, another organiser of the Forum, said the goal is to bring together people with different experiences and backgrounds, so as to give activists and organisations the opportunity to share their insights and connect with others working on the same issues. This time, the Global Forum will be hosted by Taichung at the National Chung Hsing University.

As democracy stagnates in many countries, and direct democracy suffers from lack of support, Taiwan has taken historic steps to move forward. The island nation in East Asia’s new Referendum law, less than two years old, is considered a global model for initiative and referendum.

But how is it working in practice? What are the lessons of the first years of modern direct democracy in the new powerhouse of citizens participation? What is happening across East and South Asia and the West Pacific? The Global Forum on Modern Direct Democracy will explore all these issues. Some of them are: How to move from people power movements to direct democracy institutions; lessons learned regarding Taiwan's renewed referendum experience; and, best practices in direct democracy and citizen participation.(UNi)