Mon, Jan 05, 2004 - Page 3 News List

DPP wants nuclear-plant issue put to rest

By Fiona Lu  /  STAFF REPORTER

Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) lawmakers plan to distribute 1 million leaflets around the nation to promote holding referendums on the Fourth Nuclear Plant and legislative reforms, a DPP lawmaker said this week.

"The DPP is going to mobilize party officials and legislators to send out 1 million leaflets nationwide this month to promote the goal of solving the Fourth Nuclear Power Plant construction controversy and pushing legislative reforms," said DPP whip Chen Chi-mai (陳其邁).

DPP officials plan to distribute the leaflets in local markets and meeting places in various towns, cities and counties to educate people on the meaning and importance of the task, Chen said.

The DPP announced the promotional event after their pan-blue opponents confirmed a lack of willingness to push ahead with a referendum to decide the fate of the half-finished nuclear power plant by this legislative session.

Caucus members of the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) and People First Party (PFP) also said they would not endorse former DPP chairman Lin I-hsiung's (林義雄) request to file a resolution to stop nuclear power generation in the country.

Lin made the request last month when he visited the Legislative Yuan, after his meeting with KMT Chairman Lien Chan (連戰), who assured him that the KMT would consider whether to side with Lin on the issues of abolishing the Fourth Nuclear Power Plant and overhauling the Referendum Law (公民投票法).

Lin looked for help from pan-blue lawmakers, who have a majority in the 223-seat legislature, to help abolish the government's policy on nuclear power.

He asked the legislature to pass a resolution stating that the policy of nuclear energy generation should be suspended as long as the country is free from the threat of power shortages and the government is unable to settle the issue of nuclear waste.

But KMT Legislator Wu Den-yih (吳敦義) said the KMT-PFP alliance could not approve Lin's request.

The blue camp decided the resolution would conflict with the fact that the legislature had already given its go-ahead to the construction.

Wu suggested Lin press President Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁) on the issue.

The PFP was also against a referendum on the nuclear plant, despite PFP Legislator Chou Yi's (邱毅) effort to gather signatures for a petition demanding such a referendum.

"We are opposed to any referendum proposal based on election motives, no matter whether they are about the nuclear plant issue or the defensive referendum," PFP whip Chou Hsi-wei (周錫瑋) said.

Chou Yi said he started the petition to press the DPP on the issue. The petition has 33 pan-blue lawmakers' signatures, already passing the threshold needed to put it on the legislative agenda.

The DPP does not support pan-blue members since "the opposition parties obviously exploit the nuclear-power dispute for campaign purposes," the DPP whip said.

"It is illogical for a pan-blue member, whose parties uphold the nuclear policy, to initiate a referendum on halting the plant. The opposition parties' manipulation of the nuclear plant dispute was playing with the fire that would finally destroy them," Chen said.

The KMT and PFP caucus members will decide today on whether they are going to file during this session a referendum on the number of legislators. The session is set to end next week.

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