Sat, Feb 14, 2004 - Page 3 News List

Presidential debate set for today

FACE TO FACE President Chen Shui-bian will focus on national construction and his vision for the future

By Chang Yun-ping  /  STAFF REPORTER

The country's first-ever televised debate between presidential candidates will be held this afternoon between President Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁) of the Democratic Pro-gressive Party (DPP) and Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) Chairman Lien Chan (連戰).

DPP Legislator Lo Wen-jia (羅文嘉), a key member of the DPP campaign team, said yesterday that Chen would focus his debate answers on delineating a blueprint for national construction and mapping out his vision for the country's future.

Lo said the DPP's campaign headquarters had not arranged rehearsals for Chen in advance of the debate and that the president would not alter his work schedule in order to prepare for the debate.

He said that Chen had gained a great deal of debate experience through participating in debates during the 1994 and 1998 Taipei City mayoral election campaigns.

"It is inevitable that the debates will involve aggression and defense, but that's not what concerns the president most," Lo said.

"He feels people have long been been tired of seeing the aggressive acts of politicians. That is why he will focus his debate on proposing a blueprint for the administration's future policies and demonstrating the government's executive abil-ity," Lo said.

He yesterday declined to give further details on the content of Chen's blueprint of future policies, saying that the information was part of the party's campaign strategic secrets.

Public Television Service chairman Wu Feng-shan (吳豐山) will be the moderator of today's debate.

Five people, who were chosen according to principles of professionalism and impartiality, will pose the debate questions to the two candidates.

The five are Huang Kun-yen (黃崑巖), director of the Medical Evaluation Committee of the National Health Research Institute, Cyrus Chin-yi Chu (朱敬一), research fellow of the Academia Sinica, Shirley Lin (林靜萍), executive-general of the Judicial Reform Committee, Wang Yeh-lih (王業立), chairman of Tunghai University's department of political science and Wang Jung-chang (王榮璋), the spokesperson of the pan-purple alliance.

In related news, the DPP's cam-paign manager, Su Tseng-chang (蘇貞昌), and the pan-blue alliance's campaign director-general, Wang Jyn-ping (王金平), drew lots yesterday to determine the sequence in which the candidates' names will appear on ballots.

Chen and Vice President Annette Lu (呂秀蓮) will appear first, followed by Lien and his running mate, People First Party Chairman James Soong (宋楚瑜).

Su said yesterday that Chen's getting the first position was a symbol of the party's campaign to put reforms first.

Wang said the No. 2 position of Lien and Soong signifies the pan-blue alliance's determination to stage a second transition of political power.

The debate is co-sponsored by the Taipei Society (澄社), the Public Television Service (PTS) and The Liberty Times, The China Times, The United Daily News and Taiwan Daily.

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