Lungmen construction resumes - for now

9 February 2001

A vote in the country's legislative Yuan on 31 January on resuming construction was won decisively by the opposition Kuomintang, by 134 votes to 70.

Three members of the opposition voted with the minority government, the Democratic People's Party. Following the vote, the DPP agreed on 5 February that construction could be resumed, heading off a political crisis.

But the issue has not by any means been resolved: the agreement will only allow construction to be resumed until the end of the year, by which time elections will have been held and the question can be passed to the new Yuan. The DPP are likely to have agreed to the deal in the hope that following the elections the party will increase the number of seats it holds in the Yuan.

In response to the DPP concession and the restart of work, the opposition was expected to agree to rejoin discussions over the long term future of the plant.

The crisis over Lungmen was precipitated when premier Chang Chun-Hsiang ordered a halt to construction. His Democratic People's Party had campaigned partly on a "no nuclear" platform. The decision was not ratified by the legislative Yuan and was described by judicial review as being "flawed", although not illegal. Since then the two parties and the DPP president Chen Shui-bian have been manoeuvering over a compromise position.

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