Former Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) chairperson Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) yesterday proposed implementing a moratorium on the installation of fuel rods at the Fourth Nuclear Power Plant and accelerating the holding of a national referendum to the decided the fate of the unfinished power station as soon as possible.
Tsai, who is widely tipped to win the party’s chairmanship election next month, criticized President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) for insisting on using an unreliable nuclear safety inspection system and flawed referendum mechanism to determine whether the construction of the plant in New Taipei City’s Gongliao (貢寮) District should continue.
As former DPP chairman Lin I-hsiung’s (林義雄) hunger strike calling on the government to stop construction ratcheted up the urgency to resolve the decades-long controversy, Tsai proposed that the legislature find a resolution that prohibits the installation of fuel rods at the Gongliao site before it approves a national referendum on the issue.
She also urged the legislature to refer the special statute governing the construction of the plant proposed by the DPP to a second reading in tomorrow’s plenary session and finalize the relevant legislation as soon as possible so a plebiscite can be held.
The statute seeks to lower the referendum threshold to a simple majority and to propose a more clear-cut question on the Gongliao plant’s future to voters than the one tabled by the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT).
In an interview with Wealth Magazine published this week, Tsai talked about her vision for a new DPP, which would shift the party closer to civil society, since the Sunflower movement has “changed Taiwanese politics forever.”
The DPP would be better able to understand and build mutual trust with China if Taiwan’s democracy were deepened and its economy made more healthy, she said, adding that the party should endeavor to be more rational, sensible and predictable in the future.
In related news, the DPP yesterday approved the nomination of three candidates for the mayoral and commissioner elections set to be held later this year, including former DPP lawmaker Twu Shiing-jer (涂醒哲) for Chiayi, as well as legislators Liu Chao-hao (劉櫂豪) in Taitung County and Wu Yi-chen (吳宜臻) in Miaoli County.
The DPP caucus announced that it would launch a campaign to support Lin’s hunger strike tonight at 8:14pm. The time is meant to symbolize that the Fourth Nuclear Power Plant must be terminated by the end of this year.
The caucus called for anti-nuclear activists to form a 2.4km-long line starting from the street across the site of Lin’s protest — Taipei’s Gikong Presbyterian Church — via Xinyi Rd and ending on Ketagalan Boulevard, where the Presidential Office Building is located.