The Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) says it is planning to propose an amendment to the Referendum Act (公民投票法) to lower the threshold it sets for passing referendums, 10 days after Premier Jiang Yi-huah (江宜樺) unexpectedly announced plans to put the continuation of construction of the Fourth Nuclear Power Plant to a popular vote.
Over the past week, the party has been unable to present a unified front on the proposal to ask voters if they support suspending construction of the Fourth Nuclear Power Plant in Gongliao District (貢寮), New Taipei City (新北市).
Former Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) chairperson Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) yesterday echoed a DPP-wide call for lowering the threshold for national referendums, saying that the passage of a referendum should be decided by simple plurality.
Photo: Lai Hsiao-tong, Taipei Times
The current laws on referendums require a voter turnout of at least 50 percent and a majority of 51 percent for the motion to be aproved, a threshold the DPP said was too high.
In response to the Chinese Nationalist Party’s (KMT) contention that Tsai supported the plant’s construction when she served as vice premier, the former DPP chairperson said the KMT was manipulating past events to fit its own purposes.
Tsai, who served as vice premier between 2006 and 2007, said the then-DPP Cabinet’s approval of the nuclear energy plant’s construction was based on Taiwan Power Co’s (Taipower) pledge to finish construction within the year.
After the approval was given, there were repeated accidents, construction delays, requests for additional budget allocations and the construction was never completed, she said.
At present, the public’s lack of confidence in Taipower and the government, coupled with the accident at the Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear power plant in Japan two years ago “have completely changed the Taiwanese people’s views on nuclear energy.”
Tsai accused the KMT of handling the issue as a political maneuver, rather than treating it as an energy policy issue that affects people’s lives and public safety.
DPP Chairman Su Tseng-chang (蘇貞昌) is set to attend a DPP legislative caucus meeting today in the Legislative Yuan where the opposition party will try to formulate its final strategy on the matter.
DPP caucus converner Ker Chien-ming (柯建銘) said that the controversy over the Fourth Nuclear Power Plant has created “the most serious social division in recent memory, which is made more complex because it involves political rivalries and energy policy.”
Meanwhile, the DPP is ready to offer whatever support it can in the upcoming anti-nuclear energy demonstrations slated to be held simultaneously in Taipei, Taichung, Kaohsiung and Taitung on Saturday.
However, the DPP pledged to keep a low profile in the protests and would not send politicians to address the crowds. The rallies are being organized by anti-nuclear civic groups and are expected to draw at least 50,000 participants.
The civic groups launched the first “warm-up” demonstration yesterday in Jinshan (金山) District, New Taipei City, which is sandwiched between Shihmen (石門) and Wanli (萬里) districts, where the Jinshan and Guosheng nuclear power plants are located.
Hundreds of demonstrators marched in the street to protest in front of the two nuclear power plants, demanding that all three active plants suspend operations and that construction of the Fourth Nuclear Power Plant be stopped immediately.
VOTERS’ CHOICE: The DPP’s Chen and independent candidate Huang conceded defeat before 7:20pm, with Chiang pledging to remain humble and do his best Legislator Chiang Wan-an (蔣萬安) yesterday won the Taipei mayoral election, with the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) candidate defeating the Democratic Progressive Party’s (DPP) pick, former minister of health and welfare Chen Shih-chung (陳時中), and former Taipei deputy mayor Vivian Huang (黃珊珊), an independent. After polling stations closed at 4pm, the Taipei Election Commission issued a preliminary estimate that voter turnout in the city was about 64 percent, slightly lower than in 2018. Chiang, 43, is to be the youngest Taipei mayor ever, with the KMT regaining the capital after eight years. Chen had an exceptionally high national approval rating when he was head
A naval landing craft on Thursday sank near Kinmen County after wet weather and rough seas flooded its cabin, the Naval Fleet Command said. The vessel, called Landing Craft Mechanized 1326, had completed transport and replenishment missions in the county and was returning to Taiwan proper when surging waves flooded the cabin, the navy said in a statement. The craft’s five crew members tried to bail out the water to no avail, the Navy said. The landing craft eventually sank off Kinmen’s Liaoluo Bay (料羅灣) at 5:18pm, although all crew members rescued, it said, adding that the precise cause of the sinking
FAMILY BACKGROUND: Chiang was effective in running a cautious campaign to avoid making mistakes, waiting for other candidates to slip up, an analyst said Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) Taipei Mayor-elect Chiang Wan-an (蔣萬安) stood out among his rivals due to his energy, his die-hard supporters and his relative openness to discuss issues such as same-sex marriage, a political analyst said yesterday. Chiang’s campaign was also aided by his family’s background in politics, which helped him garner greater support in Taipei where there is a large KMT base, said the analyst, who chose to remain anonymous. “Chiang is also not a typical KMT member when it comes to certain issues, such as gay marriage, and his more open stance widened his support base — particularly among young
TOURIST HOTSPOT: The air charter services would drastically cut travel time to the world-renowned beach with its service to Caticlan, instead of Kalibo Royal Air Philippines is to launch next month direct flights between Taiwan and the Philippine city of Caticlan, a closer entry point to tourist hotspot Boracay. The airline will initially offer six charter flights between Dec. 26 and Jan. 15, with the flight frequency increasing to one per day during the Lunar New Year and winter holidays from Jan. 19 to Feb. 8, it announced at a news conference in Taipei yesterday. The charter flight services will drastically cut travel time to Boracay to about two hours and 45 minutes. Before the new route is launched, travelers from Taiwan who