Legislative Yuan moves on DPP referendum plan
Taiwan News, Staff Writer
2014-05-02 03:12 PM
TAIPEI (Taiwan News) – The Legislative Yuan on Friday approved an opposition nuclear referendum law proposal for review by committee, while Premier Jiang Yi-huah succeeded in being questioned by lawmakers.

The developments mark the Legislature’s return to normal after the March 18-April 10 occupation by students protesting against the trade-in-services pact with China and the wave of anti-nuclear events surrounding former Democratic Progressive Party Chairman Lin Yi-hsiung’s April 22-30 hunger strike.

One of the key demands of the anti-nuclear activists was a lowering or complete removal of the high threshold in the existing Referendum Act. At present, a referendum result is only accepted as valid if at least 50 percent of eligible voters have actually cast a ballot.

On Friday, the Legislative Yuan agreed to pass on to a review by committee a DPP proposal for a special referendum law without the high threshold, even though the main opposition party had demanded a quicker second reading. The law would be applicable to the fate of the fourth nuclear plant now nearing completion in Gongliao, New Taipei City.

On April 25 and 28, DPP legislators occupied the podium and prevented Jiang from speaking and from facing questioning by lawmakers. The opposition demanded its referendum proposal be moved straight to a second reading, but the ruling Kuomintang blocked the move.

After Lin announced the end of his fast, DPP Chairman Su Tseng-chang said the passage of its own referendum law was no longer an absolute priority, and it could settle for amending the existing Referendum Act.

The DPP caucus said Friday morning it would not boycott the day’s session, though it still wanted the Cabinet to explain what it was planning to do about the construction of the fourth nuclear plant and especially about its budgeting. Last weekend, the government presented a new approach to the nuclear project, but it left many observers wondering whether it was leaving a possibility wide open to revive construction later.

If the KMT can explain clearly that there is no problem of an eventual continuation of the project, then the opposition could focus on amendments to the Referendum Act instead of pushing its own proposal, said DPP caucus official Wu Ping-jui.

KMT caucus chief whip Lin Hung-chih said the government proposal was absolutely clear, and if the DPP did not believe it, it could ask the premier later in the day.

Committee sessions scheduled for next week would be chaired by DPP lawmakers and list Economics Minister Chang Chia-juch and top Taiwan Power Corporation officials as speakers, reports said.

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