Attention switches to nuclear referendum

NOT SO THIN BLUE LINE::Dozens of protesters yesterday once again attempted to break into the Legislative Yuan, but were unable to force their way past police

By Chris Wang  /  Staff reporter

Wed, Jul 31, 2013 - Page 3

The focus of the ongoing extra legislative session has turned to a vote on a nuclear referendum proposal on Friday, with the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) caucus apparently ready to use its majority to push through the proposal.

While civic groups are still staging protests against the cross-strait service trade agreement, the other contentious issue to be discussed in the session — the blocking of the KMT’s possible forcible passage of the pact — has faded in significance after the party realized that approving the agreement in the extra session would not be possible.

This would seem to explain why the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) and the KMT said a proposed referendum on the construction of the Fourth Nuclear Power Plant in New Taipei City’s (新北市) Gongliao (貢寮) as “the only real issue in the extra session.”

According to KMT caucus whip Lin Hung-chih (林鴻池), the party was determined that the proposal would pass and any KMT member who voted against it would be liable to be disciplined by party headquarters.

DPP caucus convener Ker Chien-ming (柯建銘) warned that the party would do whatever it could to block the KMT if it made a unilateral move, which would “make things turn ugly on Friday.”

If passed, the referendum is likely to be held by the end of this year to determine the future of the nuclear power plant.

The Legislative Yuan decided on a provisional agenda on Monday, the first day of the two-week extra session, but only a public hearing today and a general discussion tomorrow have been scheduled.

While the service trade pact is set to be screened by eight committees next week, the DPP, convener of the sub-committees next week, has made it clear that it would not place the pact on the agenda, which means the clause-by-clause screening and voting would not take place until the next regular session, which begins in September.

However, civic groups, many of which had been camping outside the Legislative Yuan since Saturday, were determined to continue protesting against the pact.

After several failed attempts on Monday, dozens of protesters yesterday once again attempted to break into the Legislative Yuan, but were unable to get past police deployed at the entrances.

The Youth Alliance Against the Media Monster yesterday announced that it would launch an “occupy the legislature” movement this morning to express young people’s opposition to the agreement.