Sat, Dec 04, 2004 - Page 1 News List

DPP cancels rally due to fears over storm disasters

SAFETY FIRST The Democratic Progressive Party said it was canceling campaign events in Taipei and Kaohsiung today so that officials could focus on disaster prevention

By Jewel Huang and Caroline Hong  /  STAFF REPORTERS

As Typhoon Nanmadol loomed over the country, President Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁) yesterday decided that the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) should cancel its march in Taipei City and campaign rally in Kaohsiung City that were slated for today, ordering all government officials and party members to prepare for the typhoon.

Chen yesterday morning called DPP Deputy Secretary-General Lee Ying-yuan (李應元), who is in charge of today's campaign events, and informed him about the decision.

"In light of the uncertainty related to the rare typhoon, which is the first typhoon to ever hit Taiwan in the winter, President Chen showed his deep concern about the storm and stressed that preparing for its effects are the paramount concern at this moment," Lee said.

DPP Secretary-General Chang Chun-hsiung (張俊雄) yesterday afternoon announced the decision in a news conference that originally aimed to promote the march. Chen also canceled his attendance at the news conference after calling Lee.

"Because most of the DPP's top campaign strategists are senior government personnel, they need to monitor for potential disasters caused by the typhoon. Therefore, for the sake of safety, the DPP decided to cancel the 100,000-person march scheduled for Taipei City," Chang said.

Lee said that the campaign rally in which former president Lee Teng-hui (李登輝) and Chen were to appear onstage together will be postponed until Dec. 8, and the march might be replaced by another rally one day before the election day.

But whether to cancel the DPP's other march that is planned for Taichung City tomorrow will depend on the typhoon, Lee said.

Meanwhile, the parade scheduled for tomorrow by the Taiwan Solidarity Union (TSU) in Taipei City to promote the creation of a new constitution and the rectification of the country's official name will occur as scheduled, a TSU official said.

The Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT), which is planning a 100,000 person-strong rally in Taipei Sunday, said yesterday that it would wait on the weather to make a final decision about its campaign-events schedule this weekend.

While saying that the KMT was not afraid of either rain or wind, KMT spokesman Chang Jung-kung (張榮恭) added yesterday that it was unclear yet if tomorrow's rally or its scheduled rally tonight in Changhua County would take place.

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