Sat, Jan 12, 2008 - Page 1 News List

Parties issue final appeal for support

HOT CONTEST From the president to the DPP and KMT presidential candidates, the parties' big guns were out to stump for votes in the race for legislative control

By Mo Yan-chih, Shih Hsiu-chuan and Jenny W. Hsu  /  STAFF REPORTERS

A girl exchanges high-fives with a person dressed in a polar bear suit at a Green Party Taiwan campaign activity yesterday. The party stressed the importance of environmental protection, fighting global warming and protecting polar bears during the rally.

PHOTO: CNA

Party heavyweights yesterday crisscrossed the country in a last-ditch appeal for support, with the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) favored to retain its majority in a new, trimmed down legislature.

A strong ensemble of Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) big guns, including President Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁), gathered at an election rally for legislative candidate Duan Yi-kang (段宜康) last night, urging the public to get out and vote green today.

Earlier yesterday, Chen, who doubles as DPP chairman, stood on top of a campaign vehicle for three hours under the scorching sun in Taichung City, waving at passers-by and stumping for DPP candidates. Chen was also scheduled to appear in at least four elections rallies last night in Taipei.

DPP presidential hopeful Frank Hsieh (謝長廷) was in Kaohsiung City to root for party candidates, while his running mate, Su Tseng-chang (蘇貞昌), spent the morning wooing voters in Tamsui in Taipei County.

In Taipei County's Jhonghe City (中和), Vice President Annette Lu (呂秀蓮) and DPP candidate Chao Yung-ching (趙永清) told voters not to be deceived or manipulated by his KMT opponent Chang Ching-chung (張慶忠).

Lu and Chao burnt fliers distributed by Chang supporters, urging voters to reject smear tactics and vote for a candidate who is "upright."

Former DPP chairman Yu Shyi-kun drove a scooter for the first time in 20-plus years to rally for DPP candidate Derek Chen (陳金德) in Ilan County.

Presidential Office Secretary-General Yeh Chu-lan (葉菊蘭) yesterday appealed to fellow Hakkas in Pingtung County to vote for DPP candidate Su Cheng-ching (蘇震清).

The president yesterday warned the public against letting the KMT win more than two-thirds of the legislative seats.

"It's sheer arrogance for the KMT to set a goal of winning a two-third or even three-quarter majority. We can never let that happen," Chen said.

He warned that if the KMT were to secure a two-thirds majority, Hsieh could face the possibility of being recalled if he were elected president.

The pan-blue camp had launched four recall motions against Chen during his two-term presidency. All four attempts failed because of a constitutional provision requiring that the motion be approved by two-thirds of the legislature.

"The DPP has to win at least one-third of the legislative seats so that we can prevent the KMT from removing the president, who is elected by the public," Chen said.

Chen also called on voters not to waive their right to vote in the DPP-sponsored referendum.

The referendum could be the last chance to recover the KMT's stolen assets because the KMT might sell all its party assets over the next three years if the referendum fails, he said.

In accordance with the Referendum Law (公民投票法), a referendum on the same subject cannot be held within a span of three years. "Vote for Taiwan, democracy and justice by voting for DPP legislative candidates and the referendum on recovering the KMT's stolen assets," he said.

Meanwhile, KMT heavyweights also spared no efforts yesterday to campaign for the party's candidates across the country, seeking to grab well over half of the 113 legislative seats.

The party chose to hold two major campaign parties on the eve of the elections -- one in Sanchong (三重), Taipei County, and another in Kaohsiung City -- in an effort to secure at least 12 legislative seats in Taipei County, while soliciting more support in the traditionally pan-green stronghold of southern Taiwan.

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