Wed, Apr 23, 2014 - Page 3 News List

KMT does not block referendum proposal

NOT IN SYNC:Unlike in previous matters pertaining to the Fourth Nuclear Power Plant, some KMT legislators said they supported a proposal for a lower referendum threshold

By Alison Hsiao  /  Staff reporter, with CNA

Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) lawmakers yesterday did not oppose the Democratic Progressive Party’s (DPP) proposal in the legislature to place on the floor meeting’s agenda a draft that aims to lower the referendum threshold for deciding on the activation of the Fourth Nuclear Power Plant in New Taipei City’s Gongliao District (貢寮), for a possible first reading and referral to the standing committee for review.

According to Citizen’s Congress Watch, a civil group whose self-championed cause is to supervise legislators and the operation of the Legislative Yuan, the ruling party had many times voted down Fourth Nuclear Power Plant-related proposals in the legislative Procedure Committee or “through rules of procedure, blocked the proposals from being referred to the standing committee for substantial deliberation,” leaving them dangling between the Procedure Committee and a possible first reading in the floor meeting.

The DPP’s proposal of the draft did not meet such objections yesterday, with DPP Legislator Yu Mei-nu (尤美女) calling on the KMT not to block a motion in Friday’s floor meeting for the draft to be sent for committee deliberation.

KMT caucus whip Lin Hung-chih (林鴻池) said after the Procedure Committee meeting that the KMT would not obstruct the draft’s referral for an appropriate deliberation in the standing committee.

Previously on Monday, KMT Legislator Chiang Hui-chen (江惠貞) said that she supports a proposal to have the referendum threshold lowered to require the participation of 40 percent of eligible voters, rather than the existing 50 percent, for a referendum to be valid.

She said her proposal aims to counter a special statute proposed by the DPP and underscored the need of a “mean value,” rather than leaving discussion of the referendum about the Fourth Nuclear Power Plant to be “a zero-sum game.”

However, Lin, sticking firmly to the party line — which is to maintain the existing threshold — did not approve of the idea.

Separately yesterday, KMT Legislator Lee Ching-hua (李慶華) also voiced a view not in sync with the party line. He said he needs to be responsible for the safety of his constituency in Gongliao District and that of the Taiwanese nation as a whole.

Saying that “nobody believes in the [government’s] safety check of the plant anymore” and that a huge amount of money has been spent on the construction of the plant, and a lot more is to be spent on its operation and the subsequent nuclear-waste disposal, he urged that the funding be reallocated for the development of renewable and alternative energy.

Meanwhile, in related developments, Alliance of Referendum for Taiwan convener Tsay Ting-kuei (蔡丁貴) said his group would support former DPP chairman Lin I-hsiung (林義雄), who began a hunger strike yesterday to push for the Fourth Nuclear Power Plant to be shut down, by laying siege to the legislature until the government halts work on the nearly completed plant.

Tsay led a group of about 50 supporters at 10:30am trying to encircle the legislature, leading to brief scuffles with police.

In the afternoon, police asked a dozen protesters staging a sit-in on Qingdao E Road to assemble at one corner to clear the road for traffic. The protesters refused and police had to carry them away.

Zhongzheng First Police Precinct Chief Fang Yang-ning (方仰寧) said the police have adopted a defensive deployment.

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