Mon, Sep 29, 2003 - Page 1 News List

President makes DPP birthday pledge

President Chen Shui-bianIn 2006 when the DPP turns 20, I want all of the 23 million people in Taiwan to push for a new Constitution

By Chang Yun-Ping and Huang Tai-lin  /  STAFF REPORTERS

President Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁) yesterday pledged to construct a new Constitution for Taiwan in 2006 when the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) turns 20.

"In 2006 when the DPP turns 20, I want all of the 23 million people in Taiwan to push for a new Constitution," Chen said yesterday at the party's 17th birthday celebrations.

President Secretary General Chiou I-jen (邱義仁) said the president made the call for a new Constitution because the DPP and opposition parties are dissatisfied with the Constitution.

"It is an idea that needs more discussion with opposition parties and the public," Chiou said.

Chen also urged the public to support the DPP's presidential bid next year to give the administration a mandate until 2008.

Chen listed three goals to be completed next year including the holding of a referendum, securing the DPP's presidential re-election bid and making the DPP the majority party in the Legislative Yuan in the year-end legislative election next year.

Making the holding of a referendum and legislative reform DPP priorities, Chen called on the public to support legislation for a referendum law to help push for legislative reform which requires amendments to the Constitution.

Chen said that a referendum was the only way the legislature could start the constitutional revision mechanism.

Chen also promised Taichung residents the government would build a Guggenheim museum branch in Taichung, complete the underground and overpass constructions of the railway systems in the Taichung area and start construction on Taichung's section of the third national highway.

Urging party members to rid the nation of Sinofication, Vice President Annette Lu (呂秀蓮) said that deepening Taiwan's localization is one way the nation can assert its international influence in the age of globalization.

"The challenge facing Taiwan now is the task of ridding the nation of Sinofication in order to affirm Taiwan's sense of self-identity in the world," said Lu, who also urged party members to support Chen's re-election bid next March.

Calling on people to look past ethnic differences, Lu told the crowd to embrace foreign spouses of Taiwanese with acceptance and stressed that "one is considered Taiwanese as long as one identifies himself or herself with the land that we stand on."

Lu said that people should set their sights east toward the Pacific Ocean to integrate ties with Pacific and Latino nations instead of focusing solely on the Taiwan Strait and China.

DPP Secretary General Chang Chun-hsiung (張俊雄) expressed thanks to the founding members of the party who braved the dictatorship of the former Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) during the martial law period to establish the party.

"Today as we celebrate the birthday here, we must recognize the responsibility that comes with it. Seventeen years ago, the DPP's founding members braved the danger of apprehension and put aside their personal interests to establish the DPP," Chang said.

Kicking off the party's anniversary gala celebration, Chang yesterday made the holding of a referendum and legislative reform two of the DPP's priorities in the run up to the presidential election next year.

Chang made the two campaigns a promise to the public to signify the party's determination to reinforce its proposed reform schemes.

Premier Yu Shyi-kun yesterday refuted the media's reporting of the DPP's administration, saying "under the leadership of President Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁), the Executive Yuan is administrating the country with right methods and directions."

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