Mon, Mar 15, 2004 - Page 3 News List

Chen sees Lien quitting after defeat

PREDICTION Confident of winning a second term, the president spent a campaign trip discussing with reporters how his opponents are going to cope with their loss

By Lin Chieh-yu  /  STAFF REPORTER

President Chen Shui-bian walks hand-in-hand with the so-called Five Tigers of the DPP during a campaign rally in Taichung last night.

PHOTO: CHIANG YING-YING, TAIPEI TIMES

President Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁) said yesterday that the Democratic Progressive Party's (DPP) upcoming victory in the presidential election on Saturday will lay the groundwork for victory by pan-green forces in legislative elections in December, bringing to an end four years of political rancor and bitterness.

"Events will repeat those of four years ago," Chen told reporters yesterday. "After the pan-blues lose the election, crowds will gather outside the Chinese Nationalist Party's (KMT) headquarters to ask party Chairman Lien Chan (連戰) to resign."

"Clearly Lien will have to step down and take responsibility for the party's failure and many political observers believe that the speaker of the Legislative Yuan, Wang Jin-pyng (王金平), will succeed Lien to lead the party. They also think Taipei Mayor Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) will represent the party in the 2008 presidential election," Chen said.

`Chaos will end'

The president made a campaign tour of eastern Taiwan by train during which he took the opportunity to talk to the media. Chen stressed that his victory would bring the nation stability in political interaction, economic development, social order and the cross-strait relationship.

"The Legislative Yuan has become the biggest source of chaos in Taiwan because in the past few years two thugs were manipulating it, bringing about irrational boycotts. But we are confident that after wining the presidential election this chaos will end," Chen said.

Chen said he expected his victory to cause a major reorganization of the pan-blue camp; both the KMT and its ally, the People First Party (PFP), would have to make huge changes to meet the expectations of Taiwanese society.

"The KMT, under Wang Jin-pyng's leadership will have to follow the localization trend," Chen said. "If they don't, pro-localization heavyweights will leave the party."

"As for the PFP, since it is a one-person party, Chairman James Soong (宋楚瑜) will have to stay on in his post," Chen said, "and his task will be to prevent the party from imploding."

Chen stressed that those KMT legislators who were disappointed with the party and some other independents with good reputations would be willing to cooperate with the DPP.

"Therefore, we do not even have to wait for the results of the year-end legislative elections," Chen said. "The majority alliance can be realized after March 20."

However, Chen would not say whether the DPP has contacted any KMT or independent legislators to discuss this issue.

Old hat

Commenting on the impact of the pan-blue camp's "Oppose A-bian and change the president" rally last Saturday, Chen said that such a campaign activity only appealed to core supporters but did not attract new support.

"I retain my prediction that the DPP will win by a narrow margin of between 3 and 5 percent, which represents around 300,000 to 500,000 ballots.

Chen then criticized Lien and Soong for their controversial gesture on Saturday of prostrating themselves to kiss the ground.

False humility

"What Lien and Soong did during the rally was simply a campaign gimmick," Chen said, adding that they chose the wrong day for a display of humility.

"If not, we hope that they can learn from the former German chancellor Willy Brandt, who [in Warsaw in 1970] kneeled and kissed the ground of Poland to repent for Germany's crime against that country, and apologize on Feb. 28 for their crimes in slaughtering Taiwanese people during the 228 incident in 1947, " Chen said.

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