Wed, Apr 07, 2004 - Page 1 News List

Cabinet won't block weekend rally: Yu

PRIORITIES The premier said he didn't want the public to blame the Executive Yuan for treading on toes, while the new MOI head said he wanted to meet with Mayor Ma

By Ko Shu-ling  /  STAFF REPORTER

New Minister of the Interior Su Jia-chyuan shakes hands with journalists after a press conference in Taipei. Su, former Pingtung County commissioner, will take office on Friday.


While Premier Yu Shyi-kun vowed yesterday that the Cabinet would not revoke the Taipei City Govern-ment's permit for a massive demonstration on Saturday, newly appointed Minister of the Interior Su Jia-chyuan (蘇嘉全) said his first priority was to discuss with Taipei Mayor Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) how to handle the potentially volatile event.

"While we hope the city government will cancel the application [filed by the pan-blue alliance], I hope the city authorities will shoulder all responsibility if they decide to uphold their original decision," Yu said.

The Cabinet will not nullify the application of the planned mass demonstration, Yu said, because the last thing he wanted to see was the public blaming the Cabinet for encroaching on the city's authority.

Su said that while he hoped to discuss the matter face to face with Ma on Friday, when he officially takes up his new position, he would settle for talking over the phone.

"It's not my intention to give orders to my old friend. I was just trying to help," he said.

Yu and Su made the remarks yesterday morning in response to media inquiries about the Cabinet's stance on the planned rally during a press conference where Yu officially announced Su's appointment.

Su succeeded Yu Cheng-hsien (余政憲), who resigned over the election-eve shooting of President Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁) and Vice President Annette Lu (呂秀蓮).

Su's remaining 20-month mandate will be fulfilled by Pingtung County Deputy Commissioner Wu Ying-wen (吳應文). Yu Cheng-hsien reportedly will take up one of the two DPP deputy secretary general positions.

In addition to Yu Cheng-hsien, Tsai Chao-ming (蔡朝明), director of the National Security Bureau, resigned over the attempted assassination. The resignation was approved by Chen on March 31.

National Police Administration Director-General Chang Si-liang (張四良) also tendered his resignation on Monday to take full political responsibility for the shooting. His resignation is pending the approval of Su.

Su yesterday said that he did not have time yet to ponder any possible candidates for Chang's successor but was convinced that he was a responsible and hard-working person.

Yu Shyi-kun said that he respected Su's choice for his successor as long as it was the right person in the right place.

The premier also made it clear that the setting up of a special committee under a special law to investigate the election-eve assassination attempt -- as proposed in the Legislative Yuan by the pan-blue camp -- did not tally with the constitutional system of five government branches.

Yu Shyi-kun said that if the legislature passed the special law, the Cabinet would not rule out the possibility of requesting a constitutional interpretation from the Council of Grand Justices.

Commenting on the removal by police of college students staging a "hunger strike" at the CKS Memorial Hall, Yu Shyi-kun said that the move was based on the government's concern over the students' health.

"However, we'll do our best to safeguard their right of assembly if they insist on making their appeals via peaceful means," he said.

No more than 15 students at one time are taking turns going without food for 12 hours, calling their action a hunger strike. The students started the protest on Friday to call on political leaders across party lines to apologize for what the students call the social disorder of the past four years and to establish a "truth task force" to investigate the attempted assassination of the president and vice president. They also accuse Chen of manipulating the media and abandoning administrative neutrality.

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