The pan-blue alliance of the People First Party (PFP) and the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) yesterday condemned President Chen Shui-bian's (陳水扁) call for a new Constitution, describing Chen's rhetoric as "senseless."
"Chen's rhetoric highlights that he knows only how to campaign, but not how to govern a country," said PFP Chairman James Soong (宋楚瑜) at a press conference held at the PFP's headquarters.
Criticizing the Chen administration's record, Soong said the Democratic Progressive Party's (DPP) campaign strategy for the presidential election next March aims at shifting the public's focus away from its poor record and the nation's gloomy prospects.
Soong, running on a joint ticket with KMT Chairman Lien Chan (連戰), made the remarks a day after Chen pledged to push for a new Constitution in 2006 when the DPP turns 20 years old.
Referring to the "Five Nos" which Chen proposed during his inauguration speech in 2000, Soong said Chen had "eaten his own words."
The "Five Nos" were: no declaration of Taiwanese independence, no change in the country's name, no change of Constitution, no referendum on Taiwan's future and no abolition of the unification guidelines.
"Chen also has Five Nos," Soong said.
"He does not abide by the Constitution, does not respect mainstream opinion, does not attach importance to people's well-being, does not recognize the Republic of China and his words have no credibility," he said.
"Mainstream opinion wants [Taiwan] to maintain the status quo. Chen's about-face leadership style and policies are worrisome to compatriots," Soong said, who then took the opportunity to promote his running mate.
"Lien's steady governing is what the nation needs to head toward a prosperous future," Soong said.
Soong stressed that he and Lien shared a tacit understanding that "the future leader of the Republic of China will uphold promises made to the world and not create trouble."
"The KMT-PFP alliance will push for economic prosperity for Taiwan under the Constitution," Soong said.
Soong lost the presidential election to Chen in 2000 after having been accused by Lien of embezzlement of KMT party funds.
Meanwhile, Lien also dismissed Chen's proposal yesterday as "senseless" and refused to comment further.
KMT spokesman Alex Tsai (蔡正元), however, said Chen's promoting a new Constitution was a tantamount to setting a timetable for promoting independence.
Tsai said Chen's rhetoric is an attempt to consolidate the DPP's basic voting base in the run-up to the March election.
"It was also one of Chen's campaign strategies -- he hopes such remarks would prompt China to react negatively, which would swing the Taiwanese public's votes in his favor," Tsai said.
"The KMT will not dance to the DPP's music on this issue," he said.
The primary concern of the KMT is the nation's economic status and not the issue of Constitutional amendment, Tsai said.
"It is the KMT-PFP alliance's goal to bring Taiwan out of the dire straits into which the DPP has led us during the past three years," he said.