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Su Tseng-chang: no thresholds on 4th Nuclear Power Plant referendum
Taiwan News, Staff Writer
2014-04-28 03:23 PM
The DPP hopes to invoke the provisions of the Special Act on a Nuclear Power Referendum in order to get around the high threshold represented by laws governing most referendums which require that 50% of all registered voters turn out for the vote. DPP Chairman Su Tseng-chang recently suggested adopting a figure of "25% of the total number of citizens" as a threshold to be used in a referendum on the nuclear power issue, saying that one of the biggest differences that his proposed benchmark would offer is that it would give a clearer picture of how all citizens feel about nuclear power. He claimed imposing such a threshold would make it easier for everyone to push their own position on the referendum topic, and it would also lessen the chances that opponents of nuclear power would try to mobilize supporters to demonstrate against holding a referendum.

The DPP cited the Offshore Islands Development Act as a model for holding a referendum on the nuclear power issue. Party officials noted that according to Article 10-2 of the act, casinos can be developed and operated on Taiwan’s offshore islands as long as referendum results showed that more than half of the valid votes casts agreed with the referendum proposition. They note that this is more reasonable that existing referendum requirements which specify that more than half of all registered voters must participate in a referendum in order for it to be valid.

The Referendum Law as it currently stands includes Article 30, which states that more than half of registered voters must turn out and cast ballots, and further than more than half of the votes cast must be in favor of the proposition for it to pass. This "double half" requirement is a serious sticking point for people hoping to hold a referendum, and it has been identified as the main reason six referendums in a row have failed to garner enough votes in favor as well as enough total votes to get past both thresholds. Although the standards for the threshold did not constitute an issue during discussions of the Referendum Law in the Legislative Yuan, with neither ruling nor the opposition parties raising any objections at the time, they have earned the past half-dozen referendums the sobriquet of ‘Bird Cage Referendums” as traps from which a referendum proposal cannot escape.

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