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May 30, 2017

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DPP proposes referendum draft bill on fourth nuclear plant

TAIPEI, Taiwan -- The Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) will be proposing a special draft bill on a referendum concerning the island's Fourth Nuclear Power Plant in the Legislature soon, said DPP Chairman Su Tseng-chang (蘇貞昌) yesterday.

The draft bill is written according to the format and demands of a referendum bill in the Offshore Islands Development Act, said Su. A referendum for residents on Taiwan's offshore islands in 2009 rejected the development of a local casino in Penghu; like the previous case, the DPP's draft bill will not be following the rules set by the Referendum Act, Su noted.

In line with its previous stance against the Nuke 4 construction and the operation of nuclear plants in general, the DPP held a press conference yesterday titled "Ending Nuke 4 in 2014," calling for ruling and opposition party lawmakers to support the passage of the draft bill.

On Tuesday, former DPP chairman and advocate of Taiwan's democracy Lin Yi-xiong announced his plan to fast in protest of the Nuke 4 construction starting April 22. "Lin is beginning his fast as a plea for all fields to respond to the controversy surrounding the Nuke 4 construction, especially for the government. I am moved and respect his decision," said Su.

"Over 70 percent of citizens have expressed a wish to halt the Nuke 4 construction. In order to push for the nation's development, the DPP has come up with actual plans in regards to the construction-halt and hopes to reach the goal by the end of this year," Su added.

Majority Rule in Place of Referendum Act

Su cited the example of Penghu's casino referendum, whereby the residents had rejected the casino-resort plan by 17,359 votes to 13,397. Despite only 42 percent of eligible voters casting their ballots, the result was ruled valid and binding. The casino referendum was not carried out according to the Referendum Act, which called for half the number of legitimate voters in the nation to vote for the same cause in order for the referendum results to be effective.

The DPP's proposed referendum draft will follow the "majority rule" instead of the act's limitations, Su pointed out.

Anti-Nuke 4 protesters stated that the government-proposed referendum on the plant's fate was a ploy designed to confuse citizens, especially on the nature of the referendum question, which can be translated as: "Do you agree that the construction of the Fourth Nuclear Power Plant should be halted and that the facility should not become operational?"

Su noted that the DPP's referendum draft includes the options to "continue the construction" and to "stop the construction," pointing out that the Ma administration was simply confusing the citizens by its referendum wording.

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