Wed, Oct 08, 2003 - Page 3 News List

Yu says he'll quit if `818' campaign really exists

By Fiona Lu  /  STAFF REPORTER

Premier Yu Shyi-kun said yesterday he would step down if a rumored campaign to smear pan-blue leaders ahead of the presidential election was discovered in the Executive Yuan or its ministries.

"The so-called `818' campaign has never existed in the Executive Yuan or any subordinate organ of the Cabinet," Yu said during a legislative interpellation yesterday. "If there was one, I would tender my resignation."

The premier, bombarded with questions from both ruling and opposition lawmakers about the alleged dirty-tricks campaign, made the remarks at a question-and-answer session in the Legislative Yuan ahead of a review of next year's central government budget.

On Sunday, People First Party (PFP) policy research center director Chang Hsien-yao (張顯耀) claimed that in a conference on Aug. 18, the Executive Yuan inaugurated a special campaign, headed by Yu, to dig up dirt on the pan-blue presidential candidates -- PFP Chairman James Soong (宋楚瑜) and Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) Chairman Lien Chan (連戰).

Yu denied the accusation:"There may well have been many conferences on Aug. 18 at government agencies and the Executive Yuan," Yu said. "But I am sure that there was no so-called `818' Cabinet meeting, and no meetings on that day dealt with the 818 topic."

PFP Legislator Chin Huei-chu (秦慧珠), however, said that the DPP could have altered the name of the meeting and replaced the convener of the campaign following the intense media coverage of the alleged project.

Yu responded by saying that it was beyond a premier's responsibility to answer questions on presidential campaign tactics because it was not the business of the Executive Yuan.

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