Fri, Sep 27, 2013 - Page 3 News List

Nuclear referendum on ice: KMT caucus

By Shih Hsiu-chuan  /  Staff reporter

The Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) caucus yesterday agreed to hold off pushing the proposed referendum on the fate of the controversial Fourth Nuclear Power Plant in Gongliao District (貢寮), New Taipei City (新北市).

Although it fell short of the expectations of KMT Legislator Lee Ching-hua (李慶華), who initiated the referendum proposal but recently called for its withdrawal amid the ongoing political turmoil, the caucus’ decision could mean that the bill would be indefinitely postponed.

KMT caucus whip Lin Te-fu (林德福) said the party “has no timetable” for holding a referendum on the issue.

“Before all the necessary safety tests are completed, the proposal would be put on hold,” Lin said.

Lee initiated the proposal, which was endorsed by the KMT caucus, in March after President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) and Premier Jiang Yi-huah (江宜樺) decided in February to call a plebiscite to have the issue resolved “once and for all.”

The referendum question was: “Do you agree that the construction of the Fourth Nuclear Power Plant should be halted and that it not become operational (你是否同意核四廠停止興建不得運轉)?”

The opposition and anti-nuclear activists have said that the proposal amounted to “game-fixing” to ensure that the plant would continue construction because of the way the question was phrased and the high referendum threshold.

Lee was not satisfied with the caucus decision, asking: “Are we going to be adamant and turn a deaf ear to public anger?”

The government hoped the referendum would be held before the end of this year, because holding it close or in tandem with the “seven-in-one” local elections next year, would help boost voter turnout, advantaging the opposition, pundits said.

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