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Tue, Nov 07, 2000 - Page 3 News List

Political crisis not over: Soong

LEADERSHIP STRUGGLE The heads of the opposition parties say that the stalemate is not over yet, while the Presidential Office continued to appeal for reconciliation

By Lin Chieh-yu  /  STAFF REPORTER , WITH CNA

Secretaries-general of the three opposition parties from left to right: Lee Ping-nan of the New Party, Lin Feng-cheng of the KMT and Chung Jung-chi of the People First Party yesterday discuss President Chen Shui-bian's apology speech on TV.

PHOTO: GEORGE TSORNG, TAIPEI TIMES

Taiwan's current domestic political crisis is not over yet, despite a presidential apology aimed at defusing the partisan fray sparked by the government's abrupt decision to abort a nuclear power plant, an opposition leader said yesterday.

In a radio talk show, People First Party (PFP) Chairman James Soong (宋楚瑜) said that although President Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁) made a televised apology on Sunday for the "poorly timed" announcement of the decision, the opposition -- particularly KMT lawmakers -- remain distrustful of Chen's sincerity.

Soong, who lost to Chen in the March 18 presidential election by a small margin, said the president will have to offer more than just conciliatory remarks before opposition lawmakers will drop their bid to remove him from office.

"Whether the current political stalemate can be resolved will hinge on President Chen's deeds," Soong said, suggesting that Chen should "adjust his mindset" and his "arbitrary" leadership style.

The Presidential Office yesterday continued to express its desire for reconciliation with opposition parties, saying that the president and the Cabinet would adhere to the spirit of the Constitution while making controversial policies and appealed to the opposition parties to return to "rational negotiation with the government."

"President Chen Shui-bian has already apologized and promised he will definitely negotiate with opposition parties before making important policies," said secretary-general to the president, Yu Shyi-kun, yesterday during his regular weekly press conference.

"If it were necessary and in keeping with the spirit of the Constitution, the DPP would even accept a coalition government," Yu said.

Chen has repeatedly said since his inauguration on May 20 that if the DPP had to organize a coalition government with the KMT, then the transfer of power would mean nothing.

"People would question why they needed to elect a new president," Chen has told reporters for the past five months.

The three opposition parties, however, yesterday urged Chen to undertake concrete measures to demonstrate adherence to the Constitution and forestall the threatened presidential recall, rather than simply give "lip service," saying that "actions speak louder than words."

"President Chen has still not given a concrete answer to solve the Fourth Nuclear Power Plant (核四) issue, and what the public fears now is that the president may make the same mistake while making policy in the future," said KMT Secretary-general Lin Feng-cheng (林豐正).

The three major opposition parties declared that the action to recall the president would not be abandoned and decided last night to move the meeting of the three heads of the opposition parties from Saturday to Thursday to discuss how to react to the president's apology.

"We did feel that President Chen's apology contained some sincerity, but there was no promise about how he will solve the current problems," New Party convener Hau Lung-bin (郝龍斌) said yesterday.

"Therefore we will meet earlier to make some decision," Hau said.

Hau is scheduled to meet with KMT Chairman Lien Chan (連戰) and PFP Chairman James Soong on Saturday, and they plan to discuss how to unite to scrutinize the government's work in the future.

Soong said that to move the time of their meeting would only create a negative image, making people feel that the three opposition parties only cared about the recall action instead of establishing an effective measure to supervise the government.

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