Thu, Nov 09, 2006 - Page 1 News List

DPP vows to stand by Chen

UNITY?The ruling party said that the president had already promised to step down, and that they would trust and support him, and oppose any recall efforts

By Flora Wang  /  STAFF REPORTER

The Democratic Progressive Party's (DPP) highest decision-making body yesterday promised to support the president, as he faces his third attempted recall motion initiated by the opposition parties.

The DPP approved a resolution opposing the recall, and also stated its support for President Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁), whose wife Wu Shu-jen (吳淑珍) and three top aides were indicted on corruption-related charges by the Taipei District Prosecutors' Office last Friday.

At a press conference held following the party's weekly Central Executive Committee meeting yesterday afternoon, DPP Chairman Yu Shyi-kun said the majority of the commitee members, including Premier Su Tseng-chang (蘇貞昌) and former premier Frank Hsieh (謝長廷), pledged party unity and said they would trust the president during the meeting.

"Chen has shouldered his political responsibility and held himself to a standard higher than the party's disciplinary mechanism, as shown in his national address on Sunday," Yu said.

Yu was referring to the televised speech on Sunday during which Chen said he would step down if the first lady were found guilty.

Prosecutors said they had enough evidence to bring charges against Chen, but the president enjoys immunity from prosecution while in office.

Yu said Chen was applying "a higher standard" to himself, because promising to tender his resignation is much more serious than being expelled from the party.

But Yu said that if the president really stepped down after the first lady's trial, the party might also decide to punish him.

Since the party had decided to oppose the third recall motion, anyone who violates the resolution will be punished, Yu added.

Earlier in the day, Hsieh, who left early to deal with a cyber attack against his campaign Web site, told the press that although the party opposed the recall motion, dissident opinions are also respected.

Before the meeting started yesterday, DPP Legislator Cheng Yun-peng (鄭運鵬) told the press that he still believed Chen should leave his post and focus on preparing for the trial.

"If [we consider] the president family, we should offer him suggestions out of our goodwill," Cheng said. "Although many people have different opinions, I still choose to come and voice mine. I believe this is the best for the DPP's image."

DPP Legislator Gao Jyh-peng (高志鵬) said the most important thing for the party now is for its members to project a united front in the face of the recall motion.

"If a consensus is reached, everyone please understand that the DPP certainly has to take a consistent attitude [toward Chen's case] during this difficult time," Gao said before the meeting began.

DPP Legislator William Lai (賴清德) said: "I hope party members know that, no matter what different opinions there are, they are all [being voiced] for the party's own good. But I think every member will follow the party's decision once a consensus is reached."

Former DPP legislator Tuan Yi-kang (段宜康), known for his outspokenness, remained silent when approached by the media before the meeting for comment.

Meanwhile, Chuang Yen (莊嚴), a former deputy coordinator of the anti-Chen campaign, staged a protest outside the DPP headquarters.

Dressed in white, Chuang urged DPP's executive committee members to "follow their conscience" and expel the first lady, the president and the three indicted aides.

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