The Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) is set to propose lowering the referendum threshold from half of the electorate to 25 percent in party negotiations over the controversial referendum proposal on the Fourth Nuclear Power Plant today in the legislature.
The party reached a consensus after an internal meeting yesterday to adopt DPP Legislator Yeh Yi-jin’s (葉宜津) proposal as its final position in negotiations with the Chinese National Party (KMT) over an amendment to the Referendum Act (公民投票法) today.
Yeh’s proposal won the nod over the other six proposals made by DPP lawmakers because of its completeness, DPP spokesperson Wang Min-sheng (王閔生) said, adding that Yeh’s proposal was also favored because it was now in the plenary awaiting negotiation.
The initiative proposes the referendum be approved if the voters who vote “yes” outnumber those who vote “no” and the yes votes account for more than 25 percent of the electorate.
The DPP has made clear that it would engage in a “head-on war” with the KMT in a battle favoring the ruling party, which will likely ask voters if they support suspending construction at the nuclear power plant, rather than launching a new referendum initiative.
Regardless of what referendum question the KMT eventually asks, the DPP will focus on winning the referendum and suspending construction of the nuclear power plant, Wang said.
DPP Chairman Su Tseng-chang (蘇貞昌) reiterated that position again after attending a party caucus meeting yesterday morning at the Legislative Yuan.
DPP Legislator Pan Men-an (潘孟安) said the DPP caucus would likely adopt a strategy that urges voters to treat the referendum as a vote of no confidence in President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) to mobilize local communities.
In addition to the amendment of the Referendum Act, Wang added, the DPP would also work on legislation regarding promotion of a nuclear-free homeland (非核家園推動法), as well as amending the Nuclear Reactor Facilities Control Act (核子反應器設施管制法).
In related news, DPP legislators Chen Chi-mai (陳其邁), Cheng Li-chiun (鄭麗君), Tsai Chi-chang (蔡其昌) and Lee Chun-yi (李俊俋) yesterday filed an appeal with the Control Yuan accusing Premier Jiang Yi-huah (江宜樺) of “manipulating the referendum.”
The lawmakers said that Jiang had violated the Referendum Act, which prohibits the administrative body from authorizing an individual or institution to propose a referendum.
Meanwhile, Presidential Office spokesperson Lee Chia-fei (李佳霏) said the government was taking the referendum seriously and that Ma would not only participate, but also encourage others to take part in a referendum.
The remarks were in response to an article by lawyer C.V. Chen (陳長文), in which Chen said that “the Fourth Nuclear Power Plant issue will only be resolved once and for all if half of the current eligible voters cast their vote.”
Chen called on Ma to publicly announce his participation in the referendum to draw more public participation.
Lee said the president felt this was a referendum that was not about political ideology, but was a referendum in its true sense, adding that Ma confirmed he would participate in the referendum.
Lee said the Executive Yuan also supported the legislature’s decision to turn over the nuclear power plant issue to the will of the people, adding that the purpose of the move was to let the public come to an understanding of the issue through debate.
The challenges and costs of halting the construction, as well as the benefits, would be made known to the public, who would then make their decision based on their knowledge of both sides of the argument, Lee said.
The move could resolve a thorny problem that has plagued three governments in Taiwan for 33 years, so the Presidential Office is treating the issue with all the seriousness it deserves, Lee said.
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