Wed, Oct 08, 2003 - Page 2 News List

Chen: new constitution can solve nation's woes

REFORM A new constitution can improve the efficacy of the political structure, thereby improving how the economic system works and bettering people's lives

By Chang Yun-Ping  /  STAFF REPORTER

President Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁) yesterday said the new constitution that he says he wants to create in 2006 is an important solution to improve the efficacy of country's political structure and is pivotal to the country's long-term development and stability.

Speaking in his capacity as chairman of the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP), Chen yesterday said a new constitution is key to the betterment of the people's livelihood as the economic system can only run smoothly under an efficient political structure.

"With the DPP introducing its blueprint for national development, we could not only talk about economics, but also focus on additional measures for political reform. Therefore we want to provide solutions comprehensively to the problems of the existing political structure through pushing for a new constitution. All of our proposed reform schemes concern the elevation of national competitiveness," Chen said at the party's weekly closed-door Central Standing Committee.

Chen said in the context of global competition, industrial transformation and the attraction of the Chinese market, the country needs a "rational legislature, the administrative leadership of a Cabinet whose power and responsibility are consistent with each other, sound relations between the administrative and legislative branches and a streamlined and efficient government structure."

"Taiwan cannot go backward to authoritarianism for a unified executive efficiency, but at least we can reform our political structure to make policy-making and execution smoother," he said.

Chen also issued a mobilization order to about 100,000 DPP rank-and-file members nationwide to join a march in Kaohsiung City on Oct. 25 to back the passage of a referendum law.

The committee meeting yesterday invited Minister without Portfolio Yeh Jiunn-rong (葉俊榮) to deliver a speech on how a new constitution could incorporate the reality of Taiwan's position in an increasingly globalized world.

Yeh said the country was entering a "constitutional moment" during which it could enjoy a "new beginning" and draw up a brand new set of procedures and opportunities for reforms that the previous six sets of constitutional amendments failed to realize.

Yeh urged the government to evoke the public's zeal in pushing for a new constitution.

Yeh said that a new constitution would have to be drawn up at an extraordinary "new constitution meeting" of constitutional experts, politicians across party lines and public representatives and approved in a nationwide referendum.

"The second term is usually the best time for the president to push for reform," Yeh said.

Kaohsiung Mayor Frank Hsieh (謝長廷), a former DPP chairman, said yesterday that the new constitution drive has evoked the supporters' passion and has boosted the DPP's support base by about 5 percent.

DPP Legislator Lin Cho-shui (林濁水) said the notion of a new constitution is different from building a new country and couldn't be narrowed to a dispute between independence or unification.

"Although the new constitution does not involve the issue of changing the nation's title, it would set up the foundation for the country's long-term development," Lin said.

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