Thu, Nov 04, 2004 - Page 1 News List

Cabinet presses Ma ahead of court's ruling on election

SECURITY Amid threats of demonstrations after the High Court rules on the March presidential election, Taipei's Mayor was urged to ensure order

By Ko Shu-ling  /  STAFF REPORTER

The Executive Yuan yesterday called on Taipei City Mayor Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) to maintain public security in the capital city amid threats by opposition supporters of protests outside the Taiwan High Court today when it rules on the legality of the March 20 presidential election.

The court is scheduled to make public its ruling on a lawsuit filed by the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) and People First Party (PFP) to nullify the result of the March 20 presidential election at 4pm.

In addition to calling on Ma to shoulder his legal responsibility, Cabinet Spokesman Chen Chi-mai (陳其邁) called on Ma, who doubles as a vice chairman of the KMT, to use his personal and political influence to persuade the party not to stage or support any illegal congregations or marches today.

"While society is gradually resuming stability, opposition parties should come out of the March 20 shadow and learn to trust and respect the judicial system as well as stop inciting political and ethnic confrontations," he said.

Citing the Assembly and Parade Law (集會遊行法), Chen said that it is illegal to stage protests outside certain government agencies, including courtrooms.

"While some pan-blue parties have threatened to mobilize their supporters to surround the Taiwan High Court when the court delivers its verdict [today], we'd like them to know that it's illegal to stage such protests and so far we have not yet received any application to do so," he said.

According to the law, congregations or marches are banned 300m around the Presidential Office, Executive Yuan, Judicial Yuan, Examination Yuan, courtrooms, official residences of the president and vice president, as well as military compounds, embassies and foreign representative offices.

Meanwhile, during yesterday's Cabinet meeting, Ma criticized the Cabinet's Council for Economic Planning and Development (經建會) for failing to help Taipei and other metropolitan cities raise their international profile by providing information to international institutions such as the World Economic Forum (WEF) to add them in its global competitiveness report.

"While the WEF placed Taiwan No. 4 among 104 countries in its Global Competitiveness Report 2004-2005, the council has no idea that Taipei City ranks 11th in competitiveness among the world's 53 countries," Chen quoted Ma as saying.

Ma proposed that the council take the initiative to provide the WEF with the city's information as well as that of other big cities such as Kaohsiung and Taichung so they would be added to the institution's ranking list.

In the city competitiveness rankings, Ma said that Singapore is first and Hong Kong is No. 2, while Shanghai is 25th and Beijing 35th.

Thomas Yeh (葉明峰), a vice chairman of the council, said the council would do whatever it could to fulfill the city's wish, but that it is up to the WEF to decide which cities to include in its list.

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