By Emre Aytekin
BEIJING (AA) - Voters in Taiwan began casting their ballots early on Saturday amid the country's first standalone national referendums.
Polling opened at 8 a.m. local time (0000GMT) to remain open until 4 p.m. for Taiwan's first national referendums held independently of central or local government elections, according to the official Central News Agency (CNA).
As part of the referendum, Taiwanese people will vote on four initiatives related to energy, environment, food trade, and future referendum dates.
According to the CNA report, one of the issues being voted on is whether referendums should be allowed to be held in conjunction with general elections, as they have in the past.
The other three involve the fate of a liquefied natural gas terminal under construction near an algal reef off the island's northwest coast, the import of pork containing traces of the "controversial" feed additive ractopamine, and whether Taiwan's fourth nuclear power plant in New Taipei should be unsealed for commercial operations, it added.
Nearly 20 million people aged 18 and above are eligible to vote in the referendum, said the country's Central Election Commission (CEC). There are also over 17,400 polling stations around Taiwan, and the results can be expected by 10 p.m., said CEC Chairman Lee Chin-yung on Wednesday, according to CNA.