Mon, Jan 13, 2003 - Page 1 News List

`Don't write me off yet,' Chen says

DEFIANT MOOD Even when his prospects were poor, the DPP chairman said he had still succeeded, as the party worked out how to improve communication

By Lin Mei-Chun  /  STAFF REPORTER

President Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁) yesterday urged the public not write him off because the past showed how he had still succeeded even when his prospects were believed to be poor.

The president used the examples of the party's two electoral victories -- the 2000 presidential election and the legislative election of 2001 -- to illustrate that the DPP will ultimately achieve success if its members stick to their ideals and overcome challenges.

"Before the 2000 presidential election, the opinion polls indicated that my popularity ranked third. Nobody thought I would be elected. But I won," Chen said.

Chen also agreed yesterday to adopt a lawmakers' proposal to form a decision-making mechanism that would allow polices to be fully examined in the legislative and executive branches before being introduced to the public.

The initiative will be discussed at the party's Central Standing Committee meeting tomorrow.

In closing remarks at a weekend administrative reform seminar, Chen alluded to the party's election successes to encourage his party's members to work harder for the best interests of the people.

"Most people thought I was `poison to votes' in the legislative election in 2001, but the DPP won, making it the biggest party at the legislature," he said.

The two-day meeting provided DPP lawmakers and government officials the chance to talk with one another and to review the merits and flaws of the party to pave the way for the presidential election in 2004.

Vice President Annette Lu (呂秀蓮), Premier Yu Shyi-kun, DPP Secretary-General Chang Chun-hsiung (張俊雄) and DPP legislative leader Ker Chien-ming (柯建銘) also attended.

Another aim of the meeting was to synchronize party and political affairs and extend the mechanism introduced in July last year when Chen took over as party chairman.

The purpose of the move was to halt complaints that, as the party chairman and the president, Chen has dominated policy-making, whereas the DPP's legislative caucus and party officials had little knowledge of the government's policies.

Many lawmakers at the meeting complained that they often had no idea about what the policies were about, making it difficult for the lawmakers to defend them on behalf the government.

To reinforce communication between the party, the presidential office and the executive and legislative departments, more than 30 DPP lawmakers endorsed a scheme, initiated by lawmaker Lee Wen-chung (李文忠), to establish a five-to-seven-member decision-making task force.

Under Lee's scheme, the task force will prioritize policies and include DPP lawmakers in the decision-making process.

Chen was quick to endorse the plan, saying he thought "highly of the opinions on how to allow party members to participate in the decision-making and the evaluation of the policies."

Facing criticism from lawmakers, Yu said that there were communication channels between the legislative and executive branches and that he was willing to listen to the legislative caucus about ways to improve communication.

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