The Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) yesterday thwarted a legislative floor meeting in retaliation for the Chinese Nationalist Party’s (KMT) snub of its attempt to fast-track the special statute for a referendum on the Fourth Nuclear Power Plant.
The DPP had wanted to move forward a second reading on the special statute, which would allow a referendum on the plant in New Taipei City’s Gongliao District (貢寮) to be decided by a simple majority vote, thereby bypassing the standing committees’ often time-consuming deliberation.
The KMT had asked all its lawmakers to attend the meeting to block the DPP’s plan. However, this proved unneccessary because the meeting was disbanded as a result of DPP lawmakers turning off Legislative Speaker Wang Jin-pyng’s (王金平) microphone at the start of the meeting in the morning.
Before Wang arrived, dozens of DPP lawmakers donned white shirts that read “People have the say,” and unfolded banners that read: “Substantialize democracy and stop the construction of the Fourth Nuclear Power Plant.”
They occupied the middle of the chamber floor when the two parties were undertaking closed-door negotiations, which broke down in the end.
At a press conference afterward, KMT caucus whip Lin Hung-chih (林鴻池) said DPP lawmakers have occupied the podium a total of 39 times, including today, in this plenary session.
“The majority has respected the minority, but this minority never returns the favor,” Lin said. “It’s a misfortune that [our] democracy has descended into this state.”
It would not be possible for the KMT to agree to move the draft bill forward for a second reading without first referring it to the standing committee’s deliberation, he said.
“The bill pertains to a major policy and suggesting a change to the referendum threshold would have serious implications,” he said, adding that he expected the DPP would ask for another cross-party negotiation and a direct move to a third reading, if they were granted the second reading.
Lin said it was important to follow procedural justice, adding that the DPP’s action could not bring an end to the problem.
Lin said that the KMT is insisting on the position to have the plant completely built and a safety check conducted before any possibility of a referendum.
“If not, we would be wasting a huge amount of money, which includes the NT$300 billion [US$9.91 billion] that we have already spent on the construction,” he said.
DPP Legislator Kao Jyh-peng (高志鵬) told a separate press conference that the KMT’s position was “a scam,” adding the party was fooling the public “by calling their decision a concession and by disguising the resolution as one made by the KMT caucus instead of President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九).”
“By this resolution they are trying to undercut the legitimacy of [former DPP chairman] Lin I-hsiung's (林義雄) hunger strike and the anti-nuclear protesters’ motivation to take it to the streets,” Kao added.
The DPP also said that the KMT’s insistence on completing construction of the plant would breach the conclusion of a cross-party negotiation in February last year, whose conclusion was: “No additional budget can be allocated to the construction and no fuel rods inserted until a referendum on the plant has been held.”