Wed, Oct 15, 2003 - Page 1 News List

Legislators warn Chen against Lu

INTERNAL AFFAIRS A week after Chen hinted he would choose Annette Lu to run again, some DPP legislators felt obliged to ask him to think it over

By Chang Yun-Ping  /  STAFF REPORTER

Twenty-nine Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) legislators yesterday signed a petition urging President Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁) to carefully choose his running mate for next year's presidential election, a week after Chen hinted that Vice President Annette Lu (呂秀蓮) might be his partner again.

At a press conference yesterday, 13 of them identified three qualities a vice president should have. They said the candidate should meet society's expectations, improve Chen's chances of re-election and be capable of coordinating with the president.

DPP Legislator Chao Yung-ching (趙永清) read from the petition: "We hope the president can take into consideration public opinion about the vice presidential candidate."

Legislator Chiu Yi-ying (邱議瑩) of Chen's Justice Alliance faction played down suggestions that the petition was a tool to oppose Lu becoming Chen's running mate, saying, "The petition is not intended to oppose anyone, we are here to support President Chen."

Chen has refused to identify his running mate for next March's election, saying the party will decide at a conference in December. But at a Taipei temple last week, Chen told supporters to use their votes to support him and Lu for another term. The following day, he said the visiting Gambian president had made history by being the first president to select a woman to be his running mate, and he had chosen the same woman to run with him for re-election.

A senior DPP official, Shen Fu-hsiung (沈富雄), also of the Justice Alliance, commended the petition, saying, "I am glad the party's members are still able to straightforwardly speak their minds to give advice to the president."

The 29 legislators who signed the petition included members of all the DPP's factions. Among them was lawmaker Lin Yu-sheng (林育生) of the Welfare State Alliance, which was believed to be a staunch supporter of Lu being Chen's running mate.

"The faction has never made a conclusion to support a particular candidate," Lin said. "The speculation about the faction supporting [Lu] is just a misunderstanding. We believe President Chen will choose a candidate who can help him win the election."

When asked about the petition, Lu said it was correct and justified.

"If they ask me to sign the petition, I will also give my endorsement," she said.

However, Lu defended the president's hints he wanted to pick her, saying, "The president is wise in making his decision. We should respect the president's opinion."

DPP Deputy Secretary-General Lee Ying-yuan (李應元) said the petition drive demonstrated the party's tradition of honoring differing views before any major decision is made.

DPP Legislator Lawrence Gao (高志鵬), who is a member of the party's Central Standing Committee, said that although the petition was not legally binding, it reflect the public's expectations.

The Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) yesterday sought to capitalize on the apparent discord within the DPP, urging the ruling party not to neglect its administrative duties because of internal feuding over election affairs.

KMT Legislator Hung Hsiu-chu (洪秀柱) yesterday said the DPP should end public confusion and clarify who will run on its election ticket.

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