Wed, May 24, 2006 - Page 1 News List

Presidential Office denies Lu will quit

`MISUNDERSTANDING' The office issued a statement that said the vice president was simply trying to urge officials to be more aggressive in investigating scandals

By Ko Shu-ling  /  STAFF REPORTER

The Presidential Office yesterday dismissed speculation that Vice President Annette Lu (呂秀蓮) would step down if recent scandals plaguing the first family are not resolved within three months.

Chinese-language newspapers including the China Times and the Liberty Times (the Taipei Times' sister newspaper) ran reports yesterday and Monday based on what they said was a remark Lu made on Sunday night in Taoyuan County.

The Presidential Office issued a statement yesterday stating that Lu had simply been urging government officials to be more aggressive in probing the scandals.

"The vice president made the remark because she thought the media had blown recent allegations against the first family out of proportion and seriously damaged the image of the Presidential Office and the government," the statement read.

Lu's aim, the statement said, was to see the Judicial Yuan, the Ministry of Justice, the Investigation Bureau and the National Police Agency join forces in the administration's fight against corruption so that public confidence could be restored.

Included in the statement was the text of Lu's talk.

"The reason that the Democratic Progressive Party [DPP] came to power in 2000 is because the Chinese Nationalist Party [KMT] was corrupt," Lu said. "The reason that the DPP has been condemned by the public is because some DPP members have failed to live up to public expectations, forcing the president and I to shoulder the responsibility."

While Lu said the administration would humbly accept criticism, she reminded the public of the scandals that occurred during the KMT's reign.

"I don't think the pot should call the kettle black," she said.

She said it was unusual that the nation's top officials, including the president, vice president, premier, Examination Yuan president and chairmen of the opposition parties, had all studied law and that most were graduates of National Taiwan University's Law School.

"Our politicians should be law-abiding and our politics clean, but I am ashamed to see so many scandals," she said. "To be honest with you, if the situation continues, I don't want to be a vice president."

Lu asked the judicial authorities and police to beef up their investigation efforts over the next three months and also called on the public to monitor the government's performance during this period.

"You don't want to disappoint me and [force me to] step down with you, do you?" she asked.

Lu's comments have created quite a stir among legislators.

KMT caucus whip Pan Wei-kang (潘維剛) said: "If the report is true, we applaud Lu for showing her determination to make the Presidential Office a place free from corruption."

But Pan said Lu's resignation would not be a solution to the problem, nor would it eliminate Presidential Office corruption.

"If Lu resigns, she would be a person with a sense of justice. The question is whether President Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁) has the courage to make such a promise," Pan said.

"Chen should nominate a state public prosecutor-general as soon as possible to investigate into all the corruption allegations against the Presidential Office," Pan said.

People First Party (PFP) caucus whip Lu Hsueh-chang (呂學樟) said Lu should go ahead and resign.

"Lu should take the lead in stepping down to take responsibility for the DPP's scandals, which could [in turn] boost the party's morale."

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