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Wed, Jan 10, 2001 - Page 3 News List

Date set for power plant ruling

FINAL DECISION Reports have suggested a Cabinet reshuffle if the Council of Grand Justices rules against the decision to scrap the Fourth Nuclear Power Plant

STAFF WRITER

The Council of Grand Justices (大法官會議) is expected to make a decision by Friday regarding the dispute between the Executive Yuan and Legislative Yuan over the halting of the Fourth Nuclear Power Plant (核四), the local media reported yesterday.

The Council of Grand Justices, however, may come up with a fudged interpretation, ruling that the procedure used to halt construction of the nuclear power plant, not the decision itself, was unconstitutional, reports said, quoting anonymous sources.

The Grand Justices now seem to agree that the Executive Yuan, as the highest administrative organ of the state, does have the power to adjust major policies when necessary. On the other hand, according to Article 63 of the ROC Constitution, the Legislative Yuan "shall have the power to decide by resolution upon statutory or budgetary bills and other important affairs of the state," the reports said.

The Grand Justices therefore believe that the Executive Yuan's procedure, in which they decided to scrap the nuclear power plant without reporting it to the Legislative Yuan, was inappropriate and had violated the Constitution.

In response to the reports, Secretary-General of the Judicial Yuan Yang Jen-shou (楊仁壽) said yesterday that a consensus among all 15 Grand Justices has not yet been reached. "I have no clue where the news is from," said Yang.

Yang, however, did reveal that the Grand Justices have sped up the discussion for the "520 Interpretation" (520 解釋文), and a ruling is likely to be handed down by this Friday.

"The ruling will be made no later than Jan. 15, which is next Monday," Yang added.

According to Yang, the Grand Justices hope to give the ruling soon so the dispute over the halting of the plant may be eased before the Lunar Chinese New Year, which is scheduled to start on Jan. 24.

Meanwhile, Premier Chang Chun-hsiung (張俊雄), when being questioned on whether or not the Cabinet will be reshuffled after the Council of Grand Justices makes its ruling, said yesterday that he could not answer the question.

"You should go ask President Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁) this question," Chang said.

Chang also stressed that the Executive Yuan will do "whatever it should do" in order to satisfy the pending ruling.

Later, when being asked whether he was prepared for the worst and may consider leaving his post, Chang angrily asked what was meant by the "worst outcome." According to Chang, no assumptions should be made beforehand in order to give the Grand Justices space to come up with a fair decision.

Reports in the local media earlier said that the Presidential Office is ready to replace the premier, Minister of Economic Affairs Lin Hsin-yi (林信義), and chairman of the Council of Economic Planning and Development (經建會), Chen Po-chih (陳搏志), if the justices rule that the halting of the plant was unconstitutional.

The Presidential Office, however, denied the rumor yesterday and said that the government is confident about the result of the coming ruling.

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