Fri, Sep 22, 2006 - Page 1 News List

Consensus elusive as protests drag on

DEADLOCK Politicians discussed whether changing the political system could end the current crisis, but few seemed to believe that any compromise was near

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

Speculation was rampant yesterday that leaders from across the political spectrum were seeking to defuse the current political deadlock with a compromise on constitutional amendments, but a possible deal was not in the offing, politicians said.

The Taiwan Solidarity Union (TSU) legislative caucus yesterday called directly on Legislative Speaker Wang Jin-pyng (王金平) to call for cross-party negotiations in a bid to resolve the deadlock.

TSU caucus whip Liao Pen-yen (廖本煙) said that his caucus was inviting the leaders of industrial and civic groups to visit Wang and make an appeal for talks at 10am on Monday.

"We hope Speaker Wang will call for a cross-party meeting and ask caucuses to request that their party leaders stop all political activities," Liao said. "We would like to serve as a force of stability and see all political parties switch their focus to enhance social stability and improve the economy."


Wang refused to give a solid answer to the TSU's request.

"Business representatives can make their appeal heard through the media," He said. "I believe that both the government and the parties would be able to understand their feelings."

Meanwhile, rumors of a deal to do away with Taiwan's current semi-presidential system in favor of a parliamentary system also attracted the attention of political leaders.

For days, commentators have alleged that former president Lee Teng-hui (李登輝) was trying to engineer a compromise to end the campaign to oust the president.

The TSU caucus whip dismissed speculation that Lee was trying to get President Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁) to relinquish his power to appoint the premier, in exchange for an end of the demonstrations to oust the president.

"I've never heard of such a thing," Liao said.

Liao said that it was true that his party would like Taiwan to adopt a parliamentary system, but the best case scenario would be to enact a new constitution, rather than amend the current Constitution.

Wang skirted the topic, saying that adopting a parliamentary system may be the majority opinion at present, but that he had no particular view about the timing of a constitutional amendment.

"As long as constitutional amendment issues have nothing to do with pushing for `de jure Taiwan Independence,' but are good for the country, I think they are acceptable to the public," Wang said.


Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) caucus whip Yeh Yi-ching (葉宜津) said that her caucus did not have any particular stance on whether to adopt a parliamentary system or a presidential system, but said that in either case the governmental system must be amended as soon as possible.

Yeh took aim at Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) Chairman Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九), saying that, given his presidential aspirations, he would not support a parliamentary system, because he did not want to be powerless if he was elected in 2008.


Ma, however, said he was not opposed to a parliamentary system, but that he disagreed with carrying out any constitutional amendments at present.

"We just amended the Constitution last year, and it would lack legitimacy to do it again this year. No matter which system [is chosen], we should wait until the legislative election next year and leave this issue for legislators to discuss," Ma said.


Cabinet Spokesman Cheng Wen-tsang (鄭文燦) said that any decision to change the system of government was up to the public.

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