Premier sticks to legal threshold for holding referendum
Central News Agency
2014-04-21 11:10 PM
Taipei, April 21 (CNA) Premier Jiang Yi-huah said Monday the Executive Yuan is willing to hold a national referendum on the fourth nuclear power plant's future, but he did not budge on the idea of holding the poll based on existing guidelines. The referendum was one of the topics discussed by Jiang and opposition Democratic Progressive Party Chairman Su Tseng-chang at a meeting Monday, with Su arguing for a referendum that would be decided by a simple majority vote. At present, any referendum would be guided by the Referendum Act, which requires the turnout of at least half of the country's eligible voters for the poll to be valid and majority support for the question to be approved. None of the six national referendums held in Taiwan under the Referendum Act guidelines have passed because none met the 50 percent turnout threshold. Jiang said he supported the existing law because referendums are usually held on controversial issues and if they failed to gain the support of a certain percentage of the nation's people, the disputes would not be settled. Soon after he assumed the post last year, the premier said that he was willing to put the nuclear power plant project to a referendum, but a referendum will only be arranged after a referendum initiative has been approved by the Legislative Yuan, he added. In acknowledging the differences between his views and those of the DPP, he said such issues as the participation requirement and the timetable for such a referendum will be open for public discussion. Su said the DPP has long been critical of the high threshold set by the Referendum Act, and that's why the six previously held national referendums have failed. The most important thing for the ruling and opposition parties at the moment was to address their differences, Su said, suggesting that the government find solutions to the problem through the legislative process. The fourth nuclear plant project has been a source of controversy amid concerns over nuclear safety, particularly after an earthquake and subsequent tsunami caused meltdowns at Japan's Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant in 2011. Early last year, Jiang floated the idea of a referendum on Taiwan's fourth nuclear power plant project amid mounting calls by anti-nuclear activists for the nearly completed project to be scrapped. (By Hsieh Chia-chen and Evelyn Kao)
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