Fri, Jun 09, 2006 - Page 1 News List

I back Annette Lu for president: Ma

PRESIDENT LU?The KMT chairman said that he supported the Constitution's provision for the vice president to succeed the president if he stepped down

By Ko Shu-ling and Shih Hsiu-chuan  /  STAFF REPORTERS

In a surprise move, Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) Chairman Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) yesterday backed Vice President Annette Lu (呂秀蓮) to succeed President Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁) if he were to step down.

"If President Chen steps down voluntarily, the Constitution states that the vice president should replace him. We support this," Ma told reporters.

The Taiwan Solidarity Union (TSU) expressed agreement, but with one condition: that Legislative Speaker Wang Jin-pyng (王金平) should be appointed premier, according to TSU Legislator Lo Chih-ming (羅志明).

Lo said yesterday morning that former president Lee Teng-hui (李登輝) had suggested that the TSU should "conditionally" support a motion to recall Chen if the president did not step down voluntarily.

"The TSU will support a government that is headed by Lu and Wang jointly as long as they put Taiwan first and work to stabilize the political situation," Lo said.

According to Lo, Lee met with Wang recently and told him that he expected the legislative speaker to take the lead in forming a workable government.

However, TSU Legislator Ho Min-hao (何敏豪) later expressed a more conservative view, saying that the TSU would need to consider its stance as it was not certain whether Wang would be able to follow Lee's advice without causing a split in the KMT.

When confronted by reporters yesterday, Wang said: "Did you hear the [former] president say that himself?"

TSU Chairman Shu Chih-chiang (蘇進強) later said that although Lee "cares about the development of the case," he made no reference to Wang forming a Cabinet.

"We are concerned with stabilizing the current situation, not recalling the president and selecting a new premier," Shu said.

"The TSU is against the idea of recalling the president. This has never changed," Shu said.

Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Spokesman Tsai Huang-liang (蔡煌瑯) last night said the idea of Lu succeeding Chen and Wang being appointed premier was "stupid."

"There is no reason for the DPP to invite a KMT heavyweight to take the premier's office. Besides, such an arrangement would damage Wang's reputation as a loyal KMT member," Tsai said.

In an interview with SET-TV last night, Lu said it was impossible for her to succeed Chen via a pan-blue recall motion.

It would require at least 56 yeas to propose the recall and another 148 yeas for it to be approved by the legislature, but the pan-blues only occupy 122 seats, she said.

"It is difficult to do such a thing at this moment, so I would urge our pan-blue friends not to waste their time and money," Lu added.

When asked whether it was possible she would succeed Chen if he stepped down on his own accord, Lu said: "There is no sign so far that the president will resign, so there is no need for me to worry about whether or not I will succeed him."

Meanwhile, in response to a report in the Chinese-language China Times that Lu would ask Wang to form a new Cabinet, Ma yesterday said he "has faith in Speaker Wang" and did not believe that he would work with the DPP.

"I believe that this is just one of the media's ways of generating news," he said, referring to the report which said that Lu was taking precautions against the pan-blue alliance's motion to recall Chen by teaming up with Wang.

The report quoted anonymous sources as saying that on May 20, Lu expressed the desire to cooperate with Wang.

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