Tue, Oct 07, 2003 - Page 3 News List

DPP plans massive march in Kaohsiung

By Lin Chieh-yu  /  STAFF REPORTER , WITH CNA

The Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) yesterday pledged to hold a 150,000-strong march on Oct. 25 in Kaohsiung to rally support for referendums and President Chen Shui-bian's (陳水扁) promise of a new constitution in 2006.

"Chen and former president Lee Teng-hui (李登輝) will again jointly promote their idea of accomplishing constitutional reform," said DPP Legislator Wang Sing-nan (王幸男), who will organize the march on behalf of the party.

Wang said DPP headquarters has made constitutional reform one of its main campaign planks in the upcoming presidential election.

He said polls also show widespread support for constitutional reform and referendums.

"We believe that at least 1 million people will stand with us in public to facilitate the realization of a new constitution," he said.

Oct. 25 is Retrocession Day, which marks Taiwan's handover to Chinese administration in 1945 after half a century of Japanese occupation.

Wang said the date is the best time to remind people to enhance and protect Taiwan's sovereignty.

According to Wang, the Taiwan Solidarity Union (TSU) promised to mobilize its members from all counties and cities of southern Taiwan to participate in the march.

"At least 100 buses of supporters and over 10,000 of its party members in Kaohsiung City will join us," Wang said.

Wang said that Kaohsiung, as a voter base, should easily be able to muster the 150,000 supporters for the march.

Meanwhile, Chen yesterday urged all overseas Taiwanese businesspeople to support his administration's push for constitutional reforms to consolidate the nation's young democracy.

Chen made the appeal in a speech delivered at the joint opening of the ninth annual conference of the World Federation of Taiwanese Chambers of Commerce and the 10th annual conference of the Council of Taiwanese Chambers of Commerce in Asia.

Chen said the nation must craft a constitution that fits reality.

As overseas Taiwanese businesspeople have been a force supporting the nation's economic development and political reform, Chen said he hopes they will support his call for a new constitution.

Chen first made his appeal for a new constitution during a rally on Sept. 28 marking the 17th anniversary of the founding of the DPP.

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