Tue, Jan 23, 2001 - Page 1 News List

Power plant negotiations break down

ARGUMENTS Opposition leaders have agreed to let the premier make a report on the nuclear plant at a special legislative session, but the ruling DPP does not want a quick vote to be taken on the issue

By Lin Chieh-yu  /  STAFF REPORTER , WITH AGENCIES

The opposition alliance yesterday formally declared that at the legislature's upcoming special session on Jan. 30 to Jan. 31 it will ask the DPP government to resume construction of the Fourth Nuclear Power Plant (核四).

But the government and opposition parties failed to agree yesterday on whether the matter should be subject to a legislative vote.

"If the DPP government still refuses to follow the Legislative Yuan's final decision after the special meeting, we will bar Premier Chang Chun-hsiung (張俊雄) from attending the Legislative Yuan at the beginning of the new session [on Feb. 20]," said KMT legislative caucus leader Cheng Yuan-chin (鄭永金) yesterday.

The legislative caucuses of the ruling DPP and the opposition alliance -- including the KMT, the People First Party (PFP) and the New Party -- met yesterday morning to negotiate the agenda for the special session on the controversial Fourth Nuclear Power Plant project.

The negotiations, however, broke down over whether or not the issue should be put to a legislative vote.

Disappointed over the failure to come up with an agreement, Legislative Yuan speaker Wang Jin-pyng (王金平), who is also a vice chairman of the opposition KMT, announced that an informal meeting of the ruling and opposition legislative caucuses will be held on Jan. 29 to decide the agenda for the special legislative session.

"According to the ruling made by the Council of Grand Justices last week, the Executive Yuan should have obtained the approval of the Legislative Yuan before declaring a halt to the Fourth Nuclear Power Plant," said PFP legislative caucus spokesman Hwang Yih-jiau (黃義交).

"And therefore, if we [lawmakers] cannot vote to give a final decision on the controversial nuclear power plant issue at the special session meeting," Hwang said, "the Legislative Yuan should shut down."

While the opposition alliance insists that lawmakers will vote on the controversial issue immediately after hearing the premier's report at the special session meeting, the DPP caucus has given the thumbs down to a quick vote.

Chou Po-lun (周伯倫), DPP legislative caucus leader, said that the proposed special session will only be for the purpose of hearing Chang's report on the legality of the Executive Yuan's decision to halt the power plant project.

Chou insisted that conducting any debates or calling a vote during the special meeting would be "illegal."

"The Legislative Yuan certainly has the right [under normal circumstances] to pass the Executive Yuan's proposal by voting," Chou said.

"But the premier's report cannot be put to a vote," he added.

Chou said that if the opposition parties wished to put any proposition to a vote, they should do so after the new formal session of the legislature commences on Feb. 20.

Wang disagreed. "Of course, the special session can vote to decide the fate of the power plant," he said.

"That is the reason why the special session was called -- to hear Chang's report and to resolve the issue by voting," he added.

Once lawmakers at the special session vote and make a resolution on the power plant issue, the Executive Yuan has no right to overturn their decision, Wang said.

The Council of Grand Justices declared on Jan. 15 that the Executive Yuan made a procedural error when it announced a halt to the construction of the partially completed project on Oct. 27 without consulting the Legislative Yuan.

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