Wed, May 21, 2003 - Page 4 News List

Chen stresses justice selection not to be taken lightly

CONTENTIOUS SEATSOpposition lawmakers have said that since five of the Council of Grand Justices nominees are pro-DPP, they will vote against them

By Sandy Huang  /  STAFF REPORTER

President Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁) yesterday called on both the ruling and opposition parties' caucuses not to politicize the matter when exercising their duty to examine his list of candidates for the Council of Grand Justices.

The Presidential Office on Monday announced the list of 15 candidates who Chen nominated to serve as new members of the Council of Grand Justices.

The list of nominees will be presented to the Legislative Yuan later this month in order to gain the legislators' consent.

Since it will be the first time the Legislature Yuan has had the authority to approve the president's candidates for the Council, Chen expressed his concerns that there could be trouble.

Parties may resort to political squabbling over his choices, so Chen yesterday called on the party caucuses to handle the process responsibly and not oppose his candidates merely for the sake of opposition.

To discourage conflict, Chen, who is also the DPP party chairman, made it clear his belief that even though the candidates were nominated by him, they are not beholden to him nor his party because it is incumbent upon them to devote themselves to the nation, the Constitution and the democracy lain down therein.

The opposition alliance released a statement on Monday saying that it would approve only 10 of the nominees on the list for fear the five remaining individuals would not be able to remain impartial because they are pro-DPP.

Chen said that such comments are not fair since none of the legislators have had a chance to get to know these nominees.

To rebut the alliance's claim, Chen added that of all the 15 nominees, there were five who have ancestors from Chinese provinces, which was a number higher than that of last session.

Chen stressed that none of the 15 nominees were members of the DPP and that neither political considerations nor divvying up of office spoils were involved in the process of screening candidates.

The list of nominees includes three women which the government says shows the value it places on women's rights.

The main mission of the Council of Grand Justices, whose term in office is eight years, is to interpret the Constitution and make the interpretation of laws and ordinances consistent.

The new grand justices are scheduled to take office in October.

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