Tue, Sep 30, 2003 - Page 3 News List

DPP officials speak out to defend Chen's proposal

CNA , TAIPEI

President Chen Shui-bian's (陳水扁) call for a new Constitution represents an offer of a "vision" to spur a process of constitutional reform to craft a political framework that would fit the nation's present realities, Democratic Progressive Party's (DPP) legislative caucus convener Ko Chien-ming (柯建銘) yesterday.

Ko said the DPP has traditionally been active in putting forward policy initiatives to prod reform.

"While pledging to push for a new Constitution in 2006, Chen was actually offering a new `vision' for the government's work agenda in anticipation of his re-election next year," Ko said.

In contrast, Ko said, Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) Chairman Lien Chan (連戰) and People First Party (PFP) Chairman James Soong (宋楚瑜) have not presented any new vision or national development blueprint since they decided to team up for next year's presidential election.

"It is regrettable that the KMT and the PFP have rushed to stigmatize Chen's proposal," Ko said, adding that the opposition leaders should have instead presented their own initiatives or visions for public discussion.

Ko said the DPP will be more than willing to consult with the opposition parties and the public on constitutional reform issues.

The DPP legislative caucus' other whip, Chen Chi-mai (陳其邁), also defended the president's "new Constitution" overture, saying that the president is obliged to offer a new vision for future constitutional reform since he has decided to seek re-election.

Chen Chi-mai said the six rounds of constitutional amendments during the previous KMT administration had left all the political parties dissatisfied.

"Now is the time for us to deal with this problem," he said.

The DPP has long advocated a presidential system under which the central government would have only three branches for administrative, legislative and judicial affairs instead of the current five branches, Chen Chi-mai said.

"As the DPP's candidate for the 2004 election, it is only natural for President Chen to present his vision on the critical constitutional reform issue," he said.

He said the pan-blue candidates should express their views on the topic.

DPP Deputy Secretary-General Lee Ying-yuan (李應元) said the president's call has nothing to do with the issue of whether Taiwan should pursue de jure independence or unify with China.

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