Fri, Oct 10, 2003 - Page 3 News List

President to stress reform

SEEKING SUPPORT Chen will further press the case for a new constitution and praise the progress Taiwan has made in his speech today during celebrations for `Double Ten' day

By Lin Chieh-Yu  /  STAFF REPORTER

In his National Day speech today, President Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁) will again ask for the public to support his plans for Constitutional change. He will say that if Taiwan wants to become a normal, mature and great nation, it needs a new constitution ratified through a referendum.

"If constitutional reform is to succeed, it is necessary to harness popular will, political consensus among parties and the involvement of constitutional scholars. We will not make the past mistake of having a single party push through unilateral constitutional change," the president will say. "The final draft of this constitution should be passed through a referendum involving all Taiwan's citizens."

In his speech, which he will deliver in front of the Presidential Office this morning, the president will point out the enormous progress Taiwan has made over the past three years since the first transfer of power to the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP). He also appeals to all Taiwanese to continue supporting the principles of democracy and reform and to believe in the determination of the party.

Chen intends to stress that the change of power from the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) to the DPP has pushed forward structural change in the country, with democracy setting down deeper roots, especially in areas of the military, protection of rights for the handicapped and the battle against political corruption.

"There has been great progress in the investigation and prosecution of `black gold' politics, which is so much hated by the public," Chen said.

As for the country's economic development, Chen said that over the past year the stock market and the real-estate market have seen stable growth and the consumer market has revitalized, a clear indication of the country's good economic prospects for the future.

"In August this year, foreign investment reached a new high of US$350 million. Many international investment and competitiveness-accrediting organizations have affirmed the results of Taiwan's efforts and see strong potential for the future," Chen said.

"We have also attracted many foreign companies to Taiwan to establish R&D centers and operational headquarters, and at the end of October the Taiwan Business Alliance Conference looks set to bring in NT$138 billion, a substantial indication of the faith that foreign investors have in Taiwan's investment environment and its competitiveness," Chen said.

The president emphasized that the "economics and reform" platform that he started to promote at the beginning of the year has already achieved its first goal, and now there remains the goal of reforming the constitution.

"People inside and outside the government have repeatedly emphasized that the current constitutional structure and the political organization can no longer meet the needs of contemporary Taiwan," Chen says.

"Serving as the 10th president of the Republic of China, I have the historical responsibilities and obligation of facing the serious Constitutional reform issue," Chen said, "and I should unite all 23 million people of the country to push for the new constitution to let Taiwan become a normal, complete and great democratic country."

The president said that even though the path to reform may at times encounter the ubiquitous forces of the ancien regime, which stops at nothing to constrain and hit back, the ruling party has already experienced it, adjusted itself and stood firm.

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