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Sun, Jan 14, 2001 - Page 3 News List

Nuclear plant ruling may solve little

By Stephanie Low  /  STAFF REPORTER

The political struggle stirred up by the Fourth Nuclear Power Plant dispute is unlikely to end with the issuance of a constitutional interpretation, analysts predicted yesterday.

New Party Legislator Lai Shyh-bao (賴士葆) said that if the Council of Grand Justices is going to announce an interpretation that does not specify whether the Executive Yuan's decision to scrap the project was constitutional or unconstitutional, it will not resolve the dispute.

"If the interpretation is so vague that all sides can claim victory, I will feel sorry for the nation," Lai said.

The Council of Grand Justices is set to issue its interpretation of the dispute tomorrow.

A preliminary ruling made by the majority of Grand Justices on Friday stated that the Executive Yuan's decision to scrap the project was a major constitutional issue, and the Executive Yuan should have obtained the Legislative Yuan's approval before making the policy change.

While political instability will continue until the legislative election at the end of this year, it will not end unless President Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁) agrees to form a coalition government after the election, Lai added.

It is widely believed that none of the political parties will seize over 50 percent of legislative seats at the next election.

"A Cabinet that isn't supported by over 50 percent of lawmakers is bound to be unstable," Lai said.

With speculation that the issuance of a constitutional interpretation may lead to the replacement of Premier Chang Chun-hsiung (張俊雄) and a government reshuffle, Chen spelled out his support for Chang's Cabinet on Friday. Chen said he has not considered forming a coalition government. Chang has not indicated he will step down.

Yeh Yao-peng (葉耀鵬), a former DPP Control Yuan member, criticized Chen and Chang for being irresponsible. He said even if the Grand Justices' interpretation does not specify the Executive Yuan's decision was unconstitutional, Chang should step down to mollify the opposition.

Yeh said the incident was an opportunity to examine Taiwan's constitutional system -- whether it is a presidential or semi-presidential system.

Yeh also said if it is a presidential system, Chen should step down to take the responsibility for the improper way the decision to scrap the plant was made. If it is a semi-presidential system, then the premier should step down. "The attitudes of the president and the premier show that they don't intend to take any responsibility, and are treating the Constitution like a toy," Yeh said.

The opposition-controlled legislature has made Chang a persona non grata and refused to let him attend Legislative Yuan sittings since Chang announced the government's decision to scrap the power plant project on Oct. 27. The legislature has also requested the Control Yuan impeach Chang over what it claims was an unconstitutional decision.

Legislative Yuan Speaker Wang Jin-pyng (王金平) yesterday said the legislature will forward a copy of the constitutional interpretation to the Control Yuan after the ruling is released.

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