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KMT opposes lowering referendum threshold

2013/02/26 23:33:05

Taipei, Feb. 26 (CNA) A senior politician of the ruling Kuomintang (KMT) criticized the main opposition party's call for Taiwan's referendum threshold to be lowered Tuesday, saying representative democracy would not be able to survive if the demand was met.

KMT Vice Chairman Tseng Yung-chuan's comments came a day after Taiwan's government announced its decision to ask the people to decide in a referendum whether to discontinue construction work at Taiwan's controversial Fourth Nuclear Power Plant.

Construction of the nearly completed plant has been controversial, with the opposition Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) opposing it, along with others calling for a nuclear-free Taiwan.

Despite the government saying it was in favor of holding a referendum on the issue, the DPP believes that Taiwan's current laws make it difficult for a referendum to even become valid.

Without giving any specific figures, the DPP said that the 2004 Referendum Act should be amended in order to change the threshold.

As it stands, a proposal is adopted only if more than half of the total eligible voters in the country, municipality, county or city that holds the referendum turn out to vote, and more than half of the valid ballots are in favor.

There were more than 1.8 million eligible voters in Taiwan when the last presidential election was held in January 2012.

None of the six national referendums so far have seen a voter turnout of over 50 percent.

As a sign of things to come, the two main parties are already arguing over the question to be put to the voters.

At the weekly meeting of senior party officials attended by Tseng, some suggested that the people should be asked whether they agree to stop the nuclear project, not whether they think the project should continue, because the construction has been on-going since 1999, except for 110 days in late 2000 and early 2001.

(By Lee Shu-hua and Jay Chen)