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Sat, Nov 10, 2001 - Page 3 News List

December 1 elections: Parties shift into attack mode

With their campaigns now in high gear, political parties are blaming each other for isolating segments of the population and obstructing economic progress

By Stephanie Low and Lin Mei-chun  /  STAFF REPORTER

Chou Hsi-wei (周錫瑋), convener of the People First Party (PFP) legislative caucus, said the Executive Yuan must not be allowed to "resort to an expedient."

Chou said the plan can never be implemented based on an executive order, as its implementation will involve the spending of national revenues and affect the overall welfare of the people.

"The program is one intended to win the votes of elderly people at the expense of other underprivileged groups," Chou said.

Chou pointed out that the government, while marking NT$1.6 billion for the elderly stipend program in next year's fiscal budget, has shrunk the welfare budgets for the mentally and physically challenged, children, adolescents, women, farmers, fishermen and laborers.

PFP Chairman James Soong (宋楚瑜), meanwhile, proposed banning policies that may invite suspicion three months before an election on the grounds that they are intended to boost a party's election prospects.

TSU urges Lee not to share the stage

An official of the Taiwan Solidarity Union (TSU) yesterday said that it would be a bad idea for former president and TSU frontman Lee Teng-hui (李登輝) to share the campaign stage with President Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁).

The party's spokesperson, Shu Chin-chiang (蘇進強), said yesterday that the TSU's influence would be "diluted" if Chen and Lee -- the party's spiritual leader -- appear in campaign events together to stump for the pan-green alliance.

"As a smaller party, the TSU can't compete with the DPP in terms of political resources and strength," Shu said.

"Given that competing candidates from both parties will appear together where Chen and Lee share the stage, TSU supporters would be confused about whom to vote for."

Shu's answer was aimed at ending speculation by grassroots supporters of the pan-green force that Chen and Lee should share the stage to give the alliance a shot in the arm.

Proponents of the shared-stage idea said both parties would profit from such a move. They said that because the TSU does not have any candidates in the local government elections, the-appearance of Chen and Lee together should do no harm to either party.

On Thursday, Lee openly endorsed the DPP mayoral candidate Michael Tsai (蔡明憲) in a rally held in Taichung.

Fearing the incident will affect the TSU, Shu said the event happened "by coincidence."

DPP lashes out at opponents' cuts

The DPP yesterday accused opposition lawmakers of cutting the budget for local public infrastructure and funds for school children's high-tech education courses, saying the opposition has forgotten about protecting people's rights.

President Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁), campaigning yesterday in Ilan County, said that while the DPP government is devoted to increasing the budget to help local administrations improve public facilities, opposition lawmakers just cut the budget in the Legislative Yuan.

"Not only the NT$260 million for local government, which the Cabinet has drafted, but also NT$30 million for primary school students to take high-tech courses," Chen told 10,000 supporters at a rally last night. "Even the NT$20 million for subsidizing national universities was cut."

The president stressed that the opposition alliance simply doesn't want to let the A-bian administration move forward on any policies, adding they still refused to accept the loss of last year's presidential election.

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