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Cabinet to re-evaluate energy policy with Legislature: Premier

2018/11/26 19:17:27

Premier Lai Ching-te (賴清德)

Taipei, Nov. 26 (CNA) Premier Lai Ching-te (賴清德) said Monday he respected the result of the recent referendum related to nuclear power and will have his Cabinet work with the Legislative Yuan to re-evaluate the country's energy policies.

The details to the discussions will be disclosed to the public in due course, Lai said at a Cabinet press conference.

His statement came after Taiwanese voted in 10 referendums alongside local government elections on Saturday, including one that asked: "Do you agree with abolishing the first paragraph of Article 95 of the Electricity Act, which means abolishing the provision that 'all nuclear-energy-based power-generating facilities shall cease to operate by 2025'?"

The measure passed, backed by 59.5 percent of the nearly 10 million valid votes cast, according to Central Election Commission (CEC) figures.

Lai confirmed that the clause cited in the question will be scrapped three days after the CEC officially announces the referendum results on Friday.

But it is unclear if the premier, of the ruling Democratic Progressive Party (DPP), and the DPP-controlled Legislature will make any other changes.

The DPP government under President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) has been committed to the goal of making Taiwan a nuclear-free homeland by 2025, including passing the clause that was voted on Saturday in early 2017.

It has kept the fourth nuclear power plant, which was close to completion before being shelved, in mothballs and shipped some of its nuclear fuel abroad and also plans to decommission Taiwan's three active nuclear power plants on schedule by 2025.

Lai pledged that the Cabinet will follow Article 30 of the Referendum Act, which stipulates that if a referendum passes, its result will be legally binding rather than being of an advisory nature, and confirmed that the Electricity Act clause will be scrapped.

The repealed proposal will be brought before the Legislative Yuan, and the Cabinet will work with the Legislature to discuss and re-evaluate the country's energy policies, Lai said.

The proposal's initiator, Nuclear Myth Busters founder Huang Shih-hsiu (黃士修) said he hopes the DPP will realize that most Taiwanese do not favor scrapping nuclear energy.

"Only a minority of the people speak for a non-nuclear homeland," Huang said, slamming the ruling party for "refusing to realize its error."

"If that's the case, we will make you (the ruling party) step down in 2020," he said.

(By Yeh Su-ping, Ku Chuan and Ko Lin)
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