Taipei, Oct. 23 (CNA) The Central Election Commission (CEC) has approved a referendum proposal on overturning the government's policy to make Taiwan a nuclear-free homeland by 2025, bringing to 10 the number of referendums to be held in conjunction with year-end local elections.
The agency announced Tuesday that the initiative had met the threshold for valid endorsements after the leading petitioner submitted enough additional signatures to make up a shortfall that had held the initiative back.
The referendum proposal will ask voters if they agree to abolish paragraph 1 of Article 95 of the Electricity Act, which says that "all nuclear energy-based power-generating facilities shall completely cease operations by 2025."
Proposers of the referendum, led by Huang Shih-hsiu (黃士修), argue that nuclear energy is a safe, clean source of electricity that can allow time for the development of other sources of green energy without damaging the environment or contributing to global warming.
The clause was passed as an amendment by the ruling Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) government in 2016 to codify its goal of making Taiwan nuclear-free by 2025.
Approval of the referendum means that Taiwanese voters will now have 10 referendum questions to decide when they head to the polls in nationwide elections of local officials on Nov. 24, the CEC said.
The CEC first rejected the proposal on Oct. 16 after it found that only 279,419 of the 314,135 endorsements submitted by Huang on Sept. 6 were valid, leaving it short of the 281,745 signatures legally required to bring a referendum to a vote.
On Sept. 13 Huang submitted an additional 23,251 endorsements to be sure the proposal would be approved, but the CEC rejected them.
The rejection led Huang to file suit and secure a court order requiring the CEC to accept those endorsements, which were resubmitted on Oct. 17 after the CEC rejected Huang's referendum bid.
A total of 13,235 were determined to be valid as of Tuesday noon by household registration authorities, allowing the referendum question to be put to a vote, the CEC said.