The Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) yesterday said it plans to propose a special statute that will pave the way for a national referendum to resolve the decades-long controversy over the Fourth Nuclear Power Plant in New Taipei City’s Gongliao District (貢寮).
DPP Chairman Su Tseng-chang (蘇貞昌) announced the plan at a press conference after it was approved at the party’s weekly Central Standing Committee meeting, saying that stopping the construction of the plant has always been a party goal.
“A nuclear-free homeland has always been part of the DPP charter and our position remains unchanged,” Su said, adding that the 2011 Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear power plant accident in Japan has only added urgency to achieving this goal.
Photo: Lo Pei-der, Taipei Times
The DPP’s legislative caucus is to propose a special statute calling for a referendum on the Fourth Nuclear Power Plant (核四公投特別條例) to bypass the Referendum Act (公投法), which has been described as a “birdcage act” with its high threshold and perceived unfair regulations.
The proposal would change the threshold to a simple majority. Current regulations require the participation of 50 percent of eligible voters, half of whom must cast a “yes” vote for the referendum to pass.
The special statute would also require that the referendum question be simple, asking voters whether they support or oppose the plant’s construction, Su said, adding that previous proposals on the matter had a clear political agenda.
A referendum question proposed by Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) lawmakers last year asks: “Do you agree that the construction of the Fourth Nuclear Power Plant should be halted and that it should not become operational (你是否同意核四廠停止興建不得運轉)?”
Given the current high threshold, the referendum is unlikely to pass, thus rendering the government’s plan to put the plant into operation legitimate, critics have said.
The DPP would also demand that the referendum be held by the end of this year, Su said.
He said the DPP initiative was made in response to former DPP chairman Lin Yi-xiong (林義雄), who announced on Tuesday that he is to go on an indefinite hunger strike on Tuesday next week to urge the government to halt construction of the power plant.
Lin also called on society to make whatever effort necessary to warn President Ma Ying-jeou’s (馬英九) administration against defying mainstream public opinion.
In addition, the DPP will organize anti-nuclear mass rallies across the country and ask all candidates in the seven-in-one elections to include the anti-nuclear campaign in their platform, Su said.
Separately, Su proposed a provisional party platform initiative in response to society’s demand for “new politics” following the just-concluded Sunflower movement.
The three-stage plan, which was approved by the Central Standing Committee, calls on the party to gather opinions from a wide range of people and organizations by the end of this month before engaging in extensive discussions and formulating feasible plans next month.
The final stage would be a task for the next DPP chairman, who will be selected in the chairmanship election next month.
Su has said he is not seeking re-election as chairman.
‘CORNERED ENEMY’: China’s rise is threatening peace and stability, and the US would aim to restrict it with help from allies in the Asia-Pacific, Soong Hseik-wen said A draft bill on protecting Taiwan from invasion is likely to be passed by the US Congress, but it remains to be seen how US President Joe Biden’s administration would implement the act if it is passed, Taiwanese academics said on Sunday. US Senator Rick Scott and US Representative Guy Reschenthaler on Thursday reintroduced the proposed Taiwan Invasion Prevention Act, which was shelved in September last year due to the impending US presidential election. Arthur Ding (丁樹範), a professor at National Chengchi University’s College of International Affairs, and Soong Hseik-wen (宋學文), a professor at National Chung Cheng University’s Graduate Institute
OVERHAUL NEEDED: The government should improve its agricultural processing capabilities and expand to new markets to limit its reliance on China, an expert said China’s ban on Taiwanese pineapples was “unsurprising,” and Taiwan should have years ago altered its produce export strategies and target customers, experts said. China on Friday abruptly suspended imports of pineapples from Taiwan, saying that it had on multiple occasions discovered “harmful biological entities” on the fruit. Calling it an “unfriendly” move, the Council of Agriculture (COA) said that 99.79 percent of the pineapples sent to China since last year have met China’s import standards. Chiao Chun (焦鈞), the author of Fruits and Politics — A Recollection of Cross-strait Agricultural Interaction Over the Past Decade (水果政治學：兩岸農業交流十年回顧與展望), said that China’s announcement is clearly targeting
‘NOT COLD ENOUGH’: Schools are disregarding Premier Su Tseng-chang’s instruction that students may wear out-of-uniform clothing to stay warm, an association said An investigative report revealed that 72.5 percent of the nation’s senior-high schools and 95.6 percent of junior-high schools punish students for wearing unapproved winter clothes in contravention of educational guidelines, lawmakers and student rights advocates said yesterday. Speaking at a news conference at the Legislative Yuan, the Taiwan Youth Association for Democracy said there is an endemic disregard for the Ministry of Education’s regulations and that private schools are more likely to contravene ministry rules. The report is a compilation of 2,856 student reports about dress code reinforcement at 425 high schools and vocational high schools, the association said. Premier Su Tseng-chang (蘇貞昌)
DISSATISFACTION? If the referendums collect more than 700,000 signatures each, they would have gotten the most signatures in the shortest time, the party said The Chinese Nationalist Party’s (KMT) two referendum petitions — one on banning the importation of pork with traces of ractopamine and the other on holding referendums on the same day as national elections — had as of Thursday gathered 691,398 and 674,497 signatures respectively, the party said yesterday. If the petitions collect more than 700,000 signatures apiece, they would have garnered the most signatures in the shortest time since the Referendum Act (公民投票法) was amended in 2017, party officials said. The KMT proposed the “anti-ractopamine pork” or “food safety” referendum just days after President Tsai Ing-wen’s (蔡英文) announcement on Aug. 28 last