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Talk of the Day -- DPP deploys 'nuclear bomb'

2014/04/17 17:21:02

DPP Chairman Su Tseng-chang on Wednesday hosts the news conference calling for a referendum on the fourth nuclear power plant.

Under the leadership of outgoing opposition Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Chairman Su Tseng-chang, the party's central committee on Wednesday adopted an "action plan" aimed at terminating Taiwan's nearly completed fourth nuclear power plant project.

One major local newspaper described the move as "re-igniting the fuse" of the anti-nuclear issue and throwing a "super political nuclear bomb" in the run-up to the seven-in-one local elections scheduled for late November.

The plan calls for a special statute solely for holding a referendum on the future of the fourth nuclear power plant, by passing regulations under the Referendum Act.

Instead of requiring a referendum to gain the participation of over half of the eligible voters in order to be considered valid, the proposed referendum held after the special statute is passed would require a simple majority for the vote to count, regardless of the number of eligible voters who cast ballots.

None of the six national referendums held so far have managed to achieve the required 50 percent voter turnout.

In its regular weekly meeting, the DPP's central committee also made the termination of the latest nuclear project part of the party's common platform for the Nov. 29 local elections.

The following are excerpts from local newspapers' coverage of the issue:

United Daily News:

Su said in the committee meeting that more than 70 percent of the public supports the termination of the nuclear plant construction that began in 1999. The proposed special statute would get around the problem of the high threshold set by the Referendum Act, he added.

The statute as proposed by the DPP would set a goal of holding the referendum before the end of this year, he said.

Having announced a decision not to run for re-election in May, Su's intiative looks set to tie the hands of Tsai Ing-wen, his likely successor as party chief, as well as the rest of the opposition party.

With this latest development, the anti-nuclear movement will no longer be confined to the circle of non-government organizations and social activisits.

The Executive Yuan said it would not comment on the proposed legislation without having seen its text, with spokesman Sun Lih-chyun only reiterated the administration's position, including the eventual goal of phasing out nuclear energy.

The fourth nuclear power plant will not go online unless it passes ongoing safety inspections, Sun said.

For their part, lawmakers, including DPP members, are doubtful that the Legislative Yuan will be able to pass the proposed statute in time for a referendum to be held this year, if it is passed at all.

DPP lawmakers said, however, that the move will put pressure on the administration to act on the nuclear power plant issue.

China Times:

Su's announcement came just days before Lin Yi-hsiung, a former party chairman known for his strong anti-nuclear sentiments, will begin an indefinite fast on Earth Day, which falls on April 22.

During the "Sunflower" student-led protest movement, Lin sat with the students for more than 10 days outside the occupied Legislature. Just before the students pulled out of the legislative chamber, student leader Lin Fei-fan (no relation) went to see the former DPP chairman and found out the latter's plan to hold a hunger strike.

The new anti-nuclear push could continue the momentum built up by the Sunflower movement and should Lin become in danger of dying from his fast, the repercussions could be beyond the imagination of President Ma Ying-jeou.

Liberty Times:

Lin Yi-hsiung chose to begin his fast at a place where his residence used to be located before it was turned into a church. It was there that his mother and two daughters were killed in a 1980 multiple murder, a case the authorities have never been able to crack.

In addition to the DPP action, some politicians and civic groups have said they will not let Lin fight the battle alone. Chen Ou-po, a legislator from Lin's hometown of Yilan County, said he will begin his own fast at the Legislative Yuan. (April 17, 2014)