Mon, May 30, 2005 - Page 1 News List

Vote for change, Chen urges delegates

MOST IMPORTANT The president yesterday reminded DPP National Assembly delegates that constitutional reform was of the utmost importance to the nation

By Jewel Huang  /  STAFF REPORTER

President Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁) yesterday urged each Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) National Assembly delegate to cast affirmative votes on the constitutional amendment package, stressing that constitutional reforms matter much more than the interests of certain individuals or political parties.

Chen made the remarks in his speech delivered at the founding convention of the DPP's caucus in the National Assembly yesterday afternoon.

Before he ended his speech, Chen asked all the DPP delegates to stand up and raise their hands to vow that they would not deviate from the party's stance and would vote affirmatively on the constitutional amendment package on the day, the date of which is yet to be determined.

The delegates showed their support for the constitutional reforms by shouting "no" in response to Chen's questions, "Do you have any difficulty with this?" and "Does anyone have problems with this," and "yes" to Chen's demand for approving the amendments.

"There is no room for the DPP's Assembly delegates to vote incorrectly or stray from the party's stance on voting day," Chen said. "If this happens, it might as well be the end of the political career of an individual delegate. To the DPP, however, it would be a real disaster."

"The constitutional reforms matter much more than the interests of individuals or political parties," Chen said, adding that the DPP delegates would finalize their task under DPP Chairman Su Tseng-chang's (蘇貞昌) leadership.

Speaking on the predictability of the outcome, Chen asked DPP members to prepare for reformation of the electoral system.

"As soon as the number of legislators is halved and the `single-member district, two-vote' system is adopted, it will inevitably impact on the DPP. We will have to go through inescapable upheaval and will need time to get used to it," Chen said.

"Nevertheless, for the sake of the country's sustainable development and political stability, we have put aside the interests of individuals and political parties and are moving forward toward our goals," he said.

Chen said that by achieving success in constitutional reform, Taiwan would not only have a "normal legislature," it would also accelerate the birth of a fitting constitution and bring the dream of reforming Taiwan into a great, complete and progressive nation even closer.

Chen also lauded the DPP as "the only and foremost party truly supporting reforms," judging from a series of incidents ranging from the passage of the constitutional amendments and the variation of certain parties' stances on the amendments to recent disputes over the Statute Governing the Operation of the National Assembly (國大職權行使法).

Su said that 127 DPP Assembly delegates would attend the National Assembly, and he was confident that the DPP would not need to use internal disciplinary measures to punish anybody who deviated from the party's stance on the amendments or who failed to attend the meeting.

But Su also said that the DPP would without any hesitation kick out delegates who were late for voting to ensure the constitutional amendments are passed.

"We will fill the vacant positions from our waiting list. But we have no intention to offend our delegates," Su said.

Senior Presidential Adviser Yeh Chu-lan (葉菊蘭), who will serve as the president of the National Assembly's presidium, pointed out in her speech that although the delegates' task is quite simple -- to cement the constitutional amendments passed by the legislature last August -- it carries significant meaning.

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