New Taipei City passes referendum bill

Staff writer, with CNA

Tue, Jun 26, 2012 - Page 3

New Taipei City (新北市) Council approved a bill yesterday that would allow the municipality to hold public referendums on issues such as the country’s controversial Fourth Nuclear Power Plant in Gongliao District (貢寮), which is expected to be the first issue put to a vote.

The bill, jointly proposed by councilors from the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP), the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) and the Non-Partisan Solidarity Union, was passed unanimously.

With the passage of the Act Governing New Taipei Referendums (新北市公民投票自治條例), the question of whether construction of the Fourth Nuclear Power Plant should continue is likely to be put on the ballot.

DPP city councilors have been pushing for such a referendum, DPP Councilor Ho Shu-feng (何淑峰) said, adding that the proposal is expected to gain the required support of 0.5 percent of the electorate to qualify as an initiative.

The initiative will then need to be endorsed by 5 percent of the electorate before it can be put on the ballot.

The municipality’s population of more than 3.9 million accounts for more than 16.7 percent of the country’s total, Ho said.

As Taiwan’s most populous municipality, “why can’t its residents voice their opinions on a nuclear plant that is being constructed here?” she asked.

Three of Taiwan’s four nuclear power plants are located in New Taipei City.