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Referendum on fourth nuclear power plant passes initial threshold

2014/07/15 22:03:11

Taipei, July 15 (CNA) The Central Election Commission (CEC) said Tuesday that a referendum on the fate of the fourth nuclear power plant has passed the initial hurdle after garnering the endorsement of more than 120,000 people.

The CEC said that according to the Referendum Act, the number of endorsements should be more than 0.5 percent of the 18.08 million voters in the most recent presidential election, meaning that the number of endorsements needed to exceed 90,400.

The referendum question: "Do you support the installation of fuel rods in the fourth nuclear power plant in New Taipei?" was initiated by National Taiwan University Professor Kao Cheng-yan and received 121,831 endorsements.

The CEC said that it has sent the results to the Executive Yuan for confirmation by its Referendum Review Committee.

In the second stage, the initiative will need to obtain the endorsment of 5 percent of the total electorate, or more than 904,000 people, before the referendum can go ahead.

The nuclear power plant has been largely completed, but the fuel rods have not yet been installed due to widespread opposition to the use of nuclear power.

Meanwhile, the Taipei High Administrative Court is set to rule Aug. 5 on a referendum proposal put forward by former Vice President Annette Lu.

After the New Taipei City Council passed a New Taipei referendum regulation in 2012, Lu launched a petition to collect more than 50,000 signatures endorsing a proposal on preventing the installation of fuel rods at the plant.

Although the proposal was unanimously passed by the New Taipei Referendum Review Committee, it was rejected by a referendum review committee in the Executive Yuan.

Lu appealed to the Executive Yuan without success, prompting her to file the suit with the Taipei High Administrative Court.

Lu described as "ridiculous" the Executive Yuan's ruling that the nuclear power plant is an issue "on a national scale" and that a local-level referendum has no validity.

(By Tang Pei-chun, Justine Su and Lilian Wu)