Sun, Sep 10, 2006 - Page 1 News List

President visits hometown, vows not to step down

STAFF WRITER , WITH AGENCIES

President Chen Shui-bian bows to thank his supporters who greeted him warmly during a visit to his hometown in Tainan County yesterday.

PHOTO: YANG CHIN-CHENG, TAIPEI TIMES

Away from the clamor in Taipei where thousands gathered, chanting "A-bian step down," President Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁) yesterday was received warmly in his hometown in Tainan County where he vowed to supporters that he would see out his term.

"I was elected by the people ... Asking me to step down without a justifiable reason is against the principles of democracy," Chen told hundreds of supporters in Tainan County, a traditional Democratic Progressive Party stronghold.

"A-bian will not fall because Taiwan will not fall and Taiwan's road to democracy, freedom and law and order will not fall, too," said Chen, referring to himself by his nickname.

With his mother Chen Lee-shen (陳李慎) standing next to him, the president sent his greetings to his townmates, who have been staging a sit-in in support of the president. The event began nine days ago at a temple in Kuantien Township (官田) -- Chen's birthplace.

Chen pledged that in the remaining 20 months of his term in office, he would work to strengthen three movements -- the country's bid to join the UN under the name "Taiwan," promoting a new constitution and a referendum on the Chinese Nationalist Party's (KMT) stolen assets.

Rejecting the call to step down, Chen said he would double his efforts in the next 20 months to boost investment in the country, create more job opportunities, shorten the rural-urban development gap and narrow income inequality.

Saying that he sides with those who are against corruption, Chen said that to oust corruption, one must oust "Taiwan's biggest corrupt conglomerate in history -- the KMT."

Chen said that faced with the pressure calling for his ouster, he would conduct self-examination but would "not fall down," and would stick to his ideals of promoting the Taiwanese identity while upholding social fairness and justice.

The president urged the people of Taiwan to unite in support of his pursuit of democracy, freedom and rule of law for the country.

The sit-in wrapped up late yesterday with a traditional ceremony in which sky lanterns were released and prayers were said for peace in the country and good luck.

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