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DPP leader calls on President Ma to halt nuclear project
Taiwan News, Staff Writer
2014-04-18 03:41 PM
TAIPEI (Taiwan News) – In an open letter published Friday, Democratic Progressive Party Chairman Su Tseng-chang called on President Ma Ying-jeou to hald the construction of the fourth nuclear plant now nearing completion on Taiwan’s north coast.

Former opposition leader Lin Yi-hsiung is scheduled to start a hunger strike against the project on April 22, and the DPP has also presented a plan for a special law which would facilitate a referendum about the issue.

Ma should either promise to stop work on the plant in Gongliao, New Taipei City, immediately or express support for the opposition’s proposal to allow the people of Taiwan to vote on the project, Su said.

If the president had his doubts about a direct order to stop the building, he could rely on the quick passage of the referendum law by the Legislative Yuan to let the public decide what should happen, the opposition leader said.

Early last year, Ma and Premier Jiang Yi-huah pushed for a referendum about the plant, but under the existing law which severely curtails room for maneuver. The ruling Kuomintang also wanted to propose a phrasing of the referendum question which would make sure that if the vote failed to attract enough participants, the result would allow the government to continue with the project.

Su listed the three advantages of the DPP proposal, emphasizing the referendum would follow the example of local plebiscites about casinos and not include an unreasonably high threshold, while the question would be a simple “continue construction” or “stop construction,” and the vote could take place immediately after the approval of the legislative proposal, separately from the November 29 local and regional elections.

Jiang condemned the opposition plan Friday, saying it was the most simplistic referendum law there could be. If only three people bothered to show up for the referendum, the votes of two people could decide what happened to the nuclear plant, he said, describing the DPP design as child’s play.

Opposition spokesman Chang Chun-han said it was the premier himself who had launched the referendum idea in February last year, but since then no progress had been made on the issue. Jiang should stop creating confusion among the public and allow the people to make a rational choice about the nuclear plant.

The project has been controversial for several decades because of financial and safety concerns. Massive protests and public opposition have increased in strength and frequency following the March 2011 Fukushima disaster.

Former DPP Chairman Lin has long been an active opponent of nuclear energy, and next Tuesday’s hunger strike launch is the most intensive new step in his campaign.

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