Wed, May 15, 2002 - Page 4 News List

Lien refuses to rule out 2004 bid

PRESIDENTIAL RACE The KMT chairman says it is still too early for him to announce whether he'll run and feels the party should instead focus on offering a vision

By Stephanie Low  /  STAFF REPORTER

KMT Chairman Lien Chan (連戰) yesterday said that he would not rule out the possibility of making a second presidential bid in 2004, but added that it would still take some time "for things to evolve."

"As a member [of the KMT] I won't evade my responsibility. What I can say now is that I won't rule anything out," Lien said.

Lien made the remark while meeting with a group of KMT legislators from the Elite Alliance (菁英聯盟), during which the question of whether he will run for the 2004 presidency was raised.

Lien asserted that the KMT "must win" the next presidential race and that it will have to offer a "competitive ticket" during the campaign if it is to achieve that goal.

The KMT chairman said that, as the presidential poll is still some 22 months away, it is inappropriate for him to say whether he will run.

"Every party has its own system and rules to make major personnel decisions. It will be better to come to a decision through the party's system," Lien said.

Lien added that what the KMT should do now is create favorable conditions for itself.

Reaffirming his desire to cooperate with the PFP, Lien said that inter-party cooperation is the what the public expects.

To prepare for the presidential election two years from now, the top priority of the two parties is to offer people a vision, according to Lien.

He said both parties should put their heads together and put forth joint platforms on issues such as the economy, social welfare, national security and cross-strait relations.

"We should let the people know what decisions they will be making with their votes," Lien said. "This will be a crucial choice that will decide whether Taiwan will continue the way it is today or whether it will experience a renaissance."

Lien said people are fed up with the DPP for making a mess of the nation's democracy and economy.

Also yesterday, the KMT released its latest TV commercial, criticizing President Chen Shui-bian's (陳水扁) administration for following a "zigzag path" over the past two years rather than the "middle way" that Chen promised during the presidential campaign.

KMT spokesman Justin Chou said the DPP government has been fickle in terms of major national policies, causing social conditions and the economy to sink.

For example, Chen promised to stop participating in the DPP's affairs and become a "president for all the people," but now he is ready to assume the position of DPP chairman to try to expand his political influence, Chou said.

While pledging to safeguard freedom of speech, Chen's government has ordered searches of the offices of several news media organizations under the pretense of national security, Chou added.

As well, Chen, who yelled "long live the ROC" in front of military cadets, has also shouted "long live Taiwan independence" at an annual meeting of the pro-independence World Taiwanese Congress (世界台灣人大會), Chou said.

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