Fri, Dec 12, 2003 - Page 1 News List

Chen chooses Lu to be running mate

NO MORE GUESSING Saying he respected her academic ability and wide experience, the president ignored some major figures in his party to nominate Lu

By Chang Yun-ping  /  STAFF REPORTER

President Chen Shui-bian and Vice President Annette Lu cheer after the announcement of Lu's vice presidential candidacy yesterday.

PHOTO: CHIANG YING-YING, TAIPEI TIMES

Vice President Annette Lu (呂秀蓮) will be President Chen Shui-bian's (陳水扁) running mate in next year's election, despite fierce opposition within their Democratic Progressive Party (DPP).

One day after Chen was officially nominated as the DPP's standard bearer, he announced that Lu would be his running mate and called on all party members to unite to strive for victory.

Chen's choice of running mate had been a hot topic over the past few months, with Lu's opponents and supporters within the party clashing several times.

Chen yesterday said he had picked Lu once again because of her sound educational background, extensive experience and ability to work with him and to maintain "rule by both sexes."

In her acceptance speech, titled "Extraordinary Era, Extraordinary Future," Lu expressed her appreciation to Chen for choosing her again as his running mate. She said Taiwan would need "extraordinary leadership" in the "extraordinary era" that Taiwan faces in the fast-changing global society.

Lu said Taiwan would face many challenges, including the domestic problems of an aging population and the social impact of more mixed marriages, as well as changing cross-strait dynamics resulting from frequent economic and personnel interactions.

Lu warned the country must beware of Beijing's coaxing Taiwan into unification based on economic and trade ties and cultural integration with China.

She said Taiwan's lack of diplomatic power in major international bodies would result in the "further isolation and marginalization of Taiwan."

In such an "extraordinary era," Lu said Taiwan would need an "extraordinary leadership" to not only guide the country's continuing improvement in productivity, living standards and ecological protection, but also to ensure the nation's full sovereignty, clarify its national identity and normalize its international relations.

Before announcing his choice of running mate, Chen inducted five leaders of the DPP's campaign team. Premier Yu Shyi-kun was named director-general of the campaign headquarters and will lead the Cabinet in promoting the DPP's administrative record.

Taipei County Commissioner Su Tseng-chang (蘇貞昌) and Presidential Secretary-General Chiou I-jen (邱義仁) will be executive managers of the campaign organization. Su will also take charge of managing the campaign in the greater Taipei area, where the DPP is relatively weak compared with the pan-blue camp's Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) and People First Party.

Kaohsiung Major Frank Hsieh (謝長廷) is the deputy head of the campaign team, responsible for electioneering in southern Taiwan.

DPP Secretary-General Chang Chun-hsiung (張俊雄) will coordinate operations between the party and the campaign headquarters.

Chang yesterday also set out the timetable for the party's campaign, saying that the DPP's national campaign headquarters would be established on Jan. 15 in Taipei.

Chang said the party would continue to push for the holding of a "defensive referendum," which Chen plans to hold on March 20, despite pressure from the US warning Taiwan not to hold such a vote.

In response to US criticism of the referendum, Chang yesterday acknowledged that the DPP administration had done too little to communicate its intentions to the US. He said the issue needed some time to "cool off" before the government could earn the trust of the US.

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