Thu, Feb 28, 2013 - Page 3 News List

DPP promises all-out ‘referendum war’

By Chris Wang  /  Staff reporter

The Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) yesterday said it was determined to engage the government head-on in a “referendum war” over the referendum proposal on the Fourth Nuclear Power Plant in Gongliao (貢寮), New Taipei City (新北市).

“The Executive Yuan did not submit the proposal to resolve the controversy, but to cover up the construction of the plant with unreasonable legislation,” DPP Chairman Su Tseng-chang (蘇貞昌) told a press conference, titled “No nuke, no fear,” held at the party’s headquarters yesterday.

The DPP’s Central Standing Committee (CSC) passed a resolution yesterday to engage the government, which had presented “a politically calculated and dishonest referendum question,” on two fronts — in the legislature and through civic movements, Su said.

The DPP, which argues that the current Referendum Act is a “birdcage” piece of legislation because of its unusually high threshold, will try to amend the bill by lowering the current threshold, whereby a referendum is only valid if more than half of the electorate vote and half of those voters support it.

The proposed referendum is an obvious political maneuver and an abuse of administrative power, former premier Yu Shyi-kun said.

He said the DPP had decided to “go to war with reckless abandon” because an anti-nuclear stance had always been one of the party’s core values and the battle would give the DPP an opportunity to highlight its beliefs.

As the referendum question has become the focal point of the dispute and a crucial factor in the battle, Yu said the DPP should work with civic groups on submitting a separate referendum to rival the government initiative.

Given the high threshold, almost all supporters of the anti-nuclear movement say that if a referendum is to be held, the question should be: “Do you support the construction of the Fourth Nuclear Power Plant?” rather than “Do you support suspending construction of the Fourth Nuclear Power Plant?”

A DPP CSC resolution supports the proposition, but it was decided that the party should only play a supporting role if civic groups decided to launch a petition for a rival referendum, DPP spokesperson Lin Chun-hsien (林俊憲) said.

However, the DPP was ready to work on the immediate establishment of four task forces — advocacy, communication, organization and social movement — to work with civic groups for better integration of the anti-nuclear movement and to win the referendum, Lin added.

The DPP legislative caucus echoed the same position at a press conference yesterday morning, saying that the referendum question should be framed as: “Do you support the construction of the Fourth Nuclear Power Plant?”

The caucus would focus on four issues in negotiations in the Legislative Yuan next week, DPP Legislator Pan Men-an (潘孟安) said.

Those issues would be the threshold and the framing of the referendum question; whether it would be a national referendum or a local referendum; and whether there would be two simultaneous referendums, he said.

DPP Legislator Cheng Li-chiun (鄭麗君) said that Taiwan Power Co should disclose all available information on electricity production and reserve capacity in Taiwan, so that the referendum would be fair.

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