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June 24, 2017

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Opposition DPP says premier violated Referendum Act

TAIPEI, Taiwan -- The Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) filed a complaint accusing the premier of violating Article 13 of the Referendum Act, an offense punishable by six months to three years behind bars.

Opposition party lawmakers charged Premier Jiang Yi-huah (江宜樺) with violating the Referendum Act's Article 13, which says that no Executive Yuan organ (行政機關) may "carry out referendum or commission any other organization to carry out referendum over any topics." Violation is punishable by a fine and six months to three years behind bars, according to Article 52.

On Feb. 25, Premier Jiang Yi-huah (江宜樺) declared that the fate of the Fourth Nuclear Power Plant should be put to a national referendum. Jiang's announcement has effectively tasked the KMT caucus with handling the referendum according to Cabinet wishes, according to DPP lawmakers.

"The Executive Yuan is using the KMT caucus to initiate the referendum question, 'Do you agree with ceasing construction on Nuke Four?'" DPP lawmaker Cheng Li-chiun (鄭麗君) told reporters yesterday.

Cheng, along with DPP lawmakers Lee Chun-yi (李俊俋), Chen Chi-mai (陳其邁) and Tsai Chi-chang (蔡其昌), submitted their complaint to the Control Yuan yesterday afternoon.

"Isn't it so that President Ma and Premier Jiang love to talk about respect for the law? Yet now they are blatantly violating the law," said Tsai.

Taiwan's Referendum Act passed in 2003 under the Chen Shui-bian administration. The DPP had advocated the act for a decade, considering it a tool with which the public can assert views against the KMT regime. But many DPP officials considered the final referendum law disappointing, because the Legislative Yuan's KMT majority banned the DPP-controlled Executive Yuan from launching a referendum.

No Questions: Su

Also yesterday, DPP Chairman Su Tseng-chang announced that his party will not be submitting questions for the upcoming referendum on Nuke 4.

Instead, the party will focus its efforts on revising the current "Birdcage Referendum Law," so called for imprisoning public opinion. The DPP caucus is prepared to fight for a lower voter threshold so that the voice of popular democracy can ring, said Su at the Legislative Yuan yesterday.

The DPP will also invest energy in mobilizing the turnout needed to meet referendum thresholds, turning the KMT-designed referendum question into a victory for the Taiwan public, he said. "We can't choose the battlefield, but we can decide the outcome."

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