Sun, Jun 15, 2003 - Page 3 News List

DPP decries Soong's proposal

POWER PLAY Critics charge that the PFP chairman's plan to serve as an inter-governmental coordinator highlights his desire to control the pan-blue alliance

By Chang Yun-Ping  /  STAFF REPORTER

While PFP Chairman James Soong (宋楚瑜) said on Friday that he is willing to settle for acting as a chief inter-governmental coordinator instead of premier, the DPP yesterday dismissed Soong's proposal as a power grab.

Soong said that he doesn't necessarily need to assume the job of premier to serve the country, but he is willing to act as a chief inter-governmental coordinator to bridge differences between the administrative and legislative branches should the pan-blue alliance win next year's presidential election.

In an interview with a cable television station last Friday, Soong admitted publicly for the first time that he and KMT Chairman Lien Chan (連戰) had discussed, prior to announcing their joint presidential bid, the possibility of having Soong serve as both vice president and premier.

Soong said the offer was suggested by Control Yuan President Wang Tso-jung (王作榮), a member of the KMT's old guard, while Lien consulted him about his possible role in the administration.

Soong said he understands the pitfalls of taking on the two jobs.

"I have never asked for the premiership from Lien or the KMT, because I well understand it is a controversy in the Constitution to serve concurrently as vice president and premier," he said.

"Furthermore, I believe that as long as detailed and proper coordination is carried out before the implementation of policies, any difficult task can be solved."

The DPP said that Soong's proposal of being a chief coordinator showed his desire to dominate the pan-blue alliance.

DPP Vice Secretary-General Lee Ying-yuan (李應元) said there is no job of chief coordinator outlined in the Constitution and that such a term created by Soong conforms to neither the Cabinet system nor the presidential system.

"It is just a James Soong system, which overrides the power of the president," Lee said.

DPP legislative caucus whip Chen Chin-jun (陳景峻) yesterday said that, according to Article 44, Chapter Four, of the Constitution, the president may call a meeting to consult with the presidents of the five branches of government in the event of disputes between two or more of the branches.

"Therefore, the authority to coordinate the operation between the government's administrative and legislative departments rests with the president. The vice president is simply a back-up national leader," Chen said.

"Soong's intention to serve as chief inter-governmental coordinator is inconsistent with the Constitution and would virtually turn the country into a vice-presidential system," Chen said.

Reacting to the DPP's criticism, PFP spokesperson Huang Yih-jiau (黃義交) said that although the Constitution says the president has the power to coordinate disputes between the five branches, the Constitution doesn't prohibit the vice president from doing so.

"Furthermore, if the vice president can act under the authorization of the president to perform his good coordination skills, which shows his dedication to contribute to the country, why not let him?" Huang said.

Huang said only when the government's system adheres to the political party system can the administration bring out its best performance and thereby live up to public expectations.

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