Thu, Sep 30, 2004 - Page 3 News List

DPP weighs in on state-of-the-nation address controversy

By Jewel Huang  /  STAFF REPORTER

Adopting a format used by presidents to address the National Assembly would be acceptable for President Chen Shui-bian's (陳水扁) proposed state-of-the-nation address, Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Secretary-General Chang Chun-hsiung (張俊雄) said yesterday, while ruling out a question-and-answer session.

Chang said a demand by the People First Party (PFP) that Chen debate PFP Chairman James Soong (宋楚瑜) would violate the Constitution, making it unfeasible.

Chen on Sunday proposed making a special report to the legislature on issues such as arms procurement, Taiwan's UN bid and cross-strait affairs. Such a speech would require an invitation by the legislature.

Chang made the remarks as the DPP yesterday launched a three-day campaign trip for the legislative elections.

Starting from Kaohsiung, high-ranking party officials and nominees for legislator-at-large boarded trains to start a journey that will take them on a vote-canvassing trip from south to north.

Chang and former chairwoman of the Mainland Affairs Council Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文), both nominees for legislator-at-large, joined in the campaign.

"The DPP will not set any assumptions or conditions for the format of the president's special report, as long as it is constitutional," Chang said. Adopting the format used by former president Lee Tung-hui (李登輝) in the National Assembly would be acceptable, he said.

Chang, who has essentially secured his legislative spot as he is fourth on the DPP's list of legislator-at-large candidates, yesterday also showed an ambition to contend for the office of the legislative speaker.

Chang said the DPP was disappointed in the performance of current Legislative Speaker Wang Jin-pyng (王金平) as Wang had failed to implement legislative reforms in the past three years.

Chang noted the DPP had not nominated a candidate for legislative speaker three years ago after the last legislative elections and had unanimously voted for Wang to head the legislature.

"However, Wang's performances in the legislature over the past three years has fallen far below our expectations," Chang said. "The Legislative Yuan did not conduct reforms as people expected, and instead caused chaotic legislative sessions."

Chang said the DPP would first achieve the goal of winning over 50 percent of seats in the year-end elections and then target the seat of legislative speaker.

"Since the DPP achieved mission impossible with President Chen's re-election, we will keep heading toward our next goal of dominating and steering the legislature," Chang said.

DPP Information and Culture Department director Cheng Wen-tsan (鄭文燦) said the DPP will hold a series of rallies in 27 electoral districts from next month.

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