The Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) yesterday said it plans to propose a special statute that will pave the way for a national referendum to resolve the decades-long controversy over the Fourth Nuclear Power Plant in New Taipei City’s Gongliao District (貢寮).
DPP Chairman Su Tseng-chang (蘇貞昌) announced the plan at a press conference after it was approved at the party’s weekly Central Standing Committee meeting, saying that stopping the construction of the plant has always been a party goal.
“A nuclear-free homeland has always been part of the DPP charter and our position remains unchanged,” Su said, adding that the 2011 Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear power plant accident in Japan has only added urgency to achieving this goal.
Photo: Lo Pei-der, Taipei Times
The DPP’s legislative caucus is to propose a special statute calling for a referendum on the Fourth Nuclear Power Plant (核四公投特別條例) to bypass the Referendum Act (公投法), which has been described as a “birdcage act” with its high threshold and perceived unfair regulations.
The proposal would change the threshold to a simple majority. Current regulations require the participation of 50 percent of eligible voters, half of whom must cast a “yes” vote for the referendum to pass.
The special statute would also require that the referendum question be simple, asking voters whether they support or oppose the plant’s construction, Su said, adding that previous proposals on the matter had a clear political agenda.
A referendum question proposed by Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) lawmakers last year asks: “Do you agree that the construction of the Fourth Nuclear Power Plant should be halted and that it should not become operational (你是否同意核四廠停止興建不得運轉)?”
Given the current high threshold, the referendum is unlikely to pass, thus rendering the government’s plan to put the plant into operation legitimate, critics have said.
The DPP would also demand that the referendum be held by the end of this year, Su said.
He said the DPP initiative was made in response to former DPP chairman Lin Yi-xiong (林義雄), who announced on Tuesday that he is to go on an indefinite hunger strike on Tuesday next week to urge the government to halt construction of the power plant.
Lin also called on society to make whatever effort necessary to warn President Ma Ying-jeou’s (馬英九) administration against defying mainstream public opinion.
In addition, the DPP will organize anti-nuclear mass rallies across the country and ask all candidates in the seven-in-one elections to include the anti-nuclear campaign in their platform, Su said.
Separately, Su proposed a provisional party platform initiative in response to society’s demand for “new politics” following the just-concluded Sunflower movement.
The three-stage plan, which was approved by the Central Standing Committee, calls on the party to gather opinions from a wide range of people and organizations by the end of this month before engaging in extensive discussions and formulating feasible plans next month.
The final stage would be a task for the next DPP chairman, who will be selected in the chairmanship election next month.
Su has said he is not seeking re-election as chairman.
TOO CLOSE FOR COMFORT: A US Air Force KC-135 tanker came less than 1,000 feet of an EVA plane and was warned off by a Taipei air traffic controller, a report said A US aerial refueling aircraft came very close to an EVA Airways jet in the airspace over southern Taiwan, a military aviation news Web site said. A report published by Alert 5 on Tuesday said that automatic dependent surveillance–broadcast (ADS-B) data captured by planfinder.net on Wednesday last week showed a US Air Force KC-135 tanker “coming less than 1,000 feet [305m] vertically with EVA Air flight BR225 as both aircraft crossed path south of Taiwan” that morning. The report included an audio recording of a female controller from the Taipei air traffic control center telling the unidentified aircraft that it was
A series of discussions on the legacy of martial law and authoritarianism are to be held at the Taipei International Book Exhibition this month, featuring findings and analysis by the Transitional Justice Commission. The commission and publisher Book Republic organized the series, entitled “Escaping the Nation’s Labyrinth of Memory: What Authoritarian Symbols and Records Can Tell Us,” to help people navigate narratives through textual analysis and comparisons with other nations. The four-day series is to begin on Thursday next week with a discussion between commission Chairwoman Yang Tsui (楊翠), Polish-language translator Lin Wei-yun (林蔚昀), and Polish author and artist Pawel Gorecki comparing
MOVING OUT: A former professor said that rent and early education costs in Taipei are the nation’s highest, which makes it difficult for young people to start families The population of Taipei last year fell to the lowest in 23 years due to high rent, more transportation options and the expansion of northern cities into a single metropolis, academics and city officials said on Monday. Data released this month by the Ministry of the Interior showed that the capital was home to 2,602,418 people last year, down 42,623 from 2019. The decline is second only to 1993, when the population fell by 42,828 people, while Taipei’s population was the lowest it has been since 1997. Taipei saw the biggest drop among the six special municipalities, while Taoyuan led the group in
A legislator yesterday called for authorities to investigate the sale of Chinese-made, Internet-connected karaoke machines containing “propaganda songs.” Democratic Progressive Party Legislator Chen Ting-fei (陳亭妃) said she was approached by a person who had discovered Chinese patriotic songs such as My Motherland (我的祖國) — which is commonly referred to as China’s “second national anthem” — in Chinese-made karaoke devices sold in Taiwan. The machines are popular, as they can connect to the Internet, providing access to thousands of songs, she said. One retailer, who asked to remain anonymous, said that the machines first entered the local market about three years ago, starting with