Sat, Oct 13, 2018 - Page 1 News List

Pro-nuclear referendum proposal fails: CEC

By Lin Chia-nan  /  Staff reporter

Former president Ma Ying-jeou, front row third right, and others at Taipei Railway Station on Aug. 25 hold a mockup of a signature campaign form signed by Ma calling for a referendum to remove Article 95-1 of the Electricity Act, which reads: “The nuclear-energy-based power-generating facilities shall wholly stop running by 2025.”

Photo: Liao Chen-huei, Taipei Times

A referendum proposal to scrap the “nuclear-free homeland by 2025” policy stipulated in the Electricity Act (電業法) failed to pass the legal threshold of collecting at least 281,745 signatures, the Central Election Commission said yesterday, sparking a protest by the initiators of the proposal.

The proposed referendum was initiated by Nuclear Myth Busters founder Huang Shih-hsiu (黃士修), Chunghwa Nuclear Society chairman Lee Min (李敏) and other nuclear power proponents, and garnered the support of former president Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九).

The proposed referendum would have asked whether people would agree to scrap the act’s Article 95-1, which stipulates all nuclear power facilities should be decommissioned by 2025.

Of the 314,484 petitions gathered, only 279,419 were valid, which means the referendum proposal did not pass the legal threshold, commission data showed.

Of the 35,065 petitions said to be invalid, 12,224 are without addresses or with incorrect addresses, 9,492 were without signatures, 5,379 were repeat signatures, 3,504 were without personal identification numbers or with incorrect numbers, 1,963 contained forged information and 1,273 were incorrect or had unclear names, the data showed.

The number without signatures was the most unbelievable part, given that the initiators had checked each petition several times and would have required applicants to sign the forms if they found any that were unsigned, Lee said.

As the proposal only lacked 2,326 valid signatures to pass the threshold, the initiators would be contacting their lawyers and would demand a re-examination of the so-called invalid petitions, he said.

Among the numerous referendum proposals that might be held alongside the Nov. 24 elections, theirs is the only one that might threaten the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) government’s core policy of phasing out nuclear power, Lee said, adding that they might initiate another referendum proposal with the 2020 presidential election if they fail this year.

The initiators had been told that the DPP would do its utmost to block their referendum proposal, said Huang, who had conducted a 140-hour hunger strike last month to protest the commission’s refusal to accept nearly 24,000 additional petitions.

Before the commission holds a meeting on Tuesday to officially announce which referendums will be conducted alongside the local elections, the pro-nuclear groups are on Sunday to stage a roadside banquet in front of the commission’s building on Xuzhou Road in Taipei to call for democracy, Huang said.

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