The government's plan to hold a referendum on the fate of the controversial fourth nuclear power plant could be the first victim of the political fallout from the turmoil
within the ruling Kuomintang (KMT
), according to local media reports. KMT
Legislator Lee Ching-hua reportedly fired the first shot when he announced the withdrawal Tuesday of a legislative bill that would put the fourth nuclear power plant to a national referendum. Now some political analysts are saying that the KMT
's decision to strip Legislative Yuan Speaker Wang Jin-pyng of party membership in the wake of influence peddling allegations has made things volatile. The following are excerpts from local media coverage of possible developments in the nuclear power plant referendum in the wake of Wang's removal from the KMT
: United Evening News: In a Tuesday text message, Legislator Lee said it would be "inappropriate" to push forward with the fourth nuclear power plant referendum at this time. If the referendum is held in accordance with the original plan, it would cause chaos in the Legislature, Lee said. "Given the current state of relations between the Presidential Office, the Executive Yuan and the Legislature, now would be an extremely inappropriate time to deal with the referendum the issue," Lee said. The referendum question proposed by Lee and other KMT
legislators was: "Do you agree that the construction of the fourth nuclear power plant should be halted and that it should not become operational?" The bill is still pending legislative approval.
The KMT legislative caucus issued a statement late Tuesday, saying that the bill cannot be withdrawn by any individual KMT lawmaker because it had been approved by the party's legislative caucus before being put on the legislative agenda. KMT legislative whip Lin Hung-chi said Wednesday that the party caucus will discuss the issue next Monday. Some fellow KMT lawmakers gave Lee a thumbs-up, saying his move has helped relieve their pressure. The KMT now controls 65 seats in the 113-member Legislature. Even though Wang has been forced out of the KMT, legislative sources said, he still has big clout in the Legislature. Some dozen lawmakers from the party went to the airport Tuesday evening to welcome the beleaguered speaker home from a trip to Malaysia. If the KMT can no longer draw support from Wang, it may find it difficult to pass major bills in the future. (Sept. 11, 2013). Economic Daily News: Some industrial and business heavyweights expressed concern Tuesday about political rifts within KMT ranks while meeting with Premier Jiang Yi-huah. They said political instability could delay the passage of the Cross-Taiwan Strait Service Trade Agreement and the referendum on the fate of the fourth nuclear power plant. Such delay could eventually dull Taiwan's competitive edge in the increasingly cut-throat global market, they said. (Sept. 11, 2013). (By Sofia Wu)