Tue, Mar 09, 2004 - Page 3 News List

`Change the president' new blue-camp mantra

By Huang Tai-lin  /  STAFF REPORTER

The Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT)-People First Party (PFP) alliance formally announced yesterday its plan to hold a mass nationwide march this Saturday with the official slogan of "change the president and salvage Taiwan."

KMT Legislative Speaker Wang Jin-pyng (王金平), however, dismissed claims by pan-blue legislators on Sunday that organizers were targeting a turnout of 2.5 million people.

"The alliance's national campaign headquarters has never mentioned anything about the target turnout of 2.5 million people for the march," Wang, also head of the alliance's campaign headquarters, said at a press conference yesterday.

"What lawmakers said at the Legislative Yuan on Sunday does not count. What counts is what is said here at the national campaign headquarters today," he said.

Yesterday was not the first time Wang expressed frustration over fellow members' remarks concerning the blue camp's campaign plan.

In a bid to avoid confusion among the electorate, Wang handed down an order last month that pan-blue legislators who are not designated by the national campaign headquarters should not hold press conferences.

Saying that the March 13 rally would be the final all-out campaign effort to be held by the alliance in the run-up to the election, Wang said the march will represent all the complaints people have kept bottled up about the incompetent governance of the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) administration.

"The KMT-PFP alliance national headquarters hereby officially requests a total mobilization of pan-blue supporters to take part in this march. We'd like to encourage all others to participate and join us in the march as well," Wang said.

Taipei Mayor Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九), also the alliance's national campaign manager, said at the press conference, "Putting politics above professionalism characterizes the DPP administration during the past four years."

"To let [President] Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁) succeed in his re-election bid would promise another four years full of regrets," Ma said, calling on all who found the performance of the Chen administration unsatisfactory to join the march.

Wang said 127 destinations have been mapped out across the nation's 25 counties and cities where supporters of the pan-blue camp would gather to take part in the demonstration.

On the day of the march, the alliance's presidential candidate, KMT Chairman Lien Chan (連戰), will take part the rally in Taipei, while his running mate, PFP Chairman James Soong (宋楚瑜), will be in charge of the event in central Taiwan.

Wang will be in charge of mobilizing the masses in south, while Ma will most likely be in Taoyuan.

"When the clock hits 3:20pm -- the number that coincides with the presidential election date of March 20 -- we'd like to call on people to make noise with any tools that are available around them as a gesture to show their desire to change the president," Wang said.

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