Fri, Nov 12, 2004 - Page 3 News List

Chen touts the `future legislative speaker'

By Jewel Huang  /  STAFF REPORTER

Bodyguards look on as President Chen Shui-bian hands out auspicious tokens to supporters at Lungshan Temple in Taipei yesterday. Chen took candidates for the legislative elections to the temple to pray for success.

PHOTO: LIU HSIN-TE, TAIPEI TIMES

President Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁) yesterday pledged support for Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Secretary-General Chang Chun-hsiung (張俊雄) as the "future legislative speaker" once the pan-green camp wins a majority in the legislative elections.

On the day before he hits the campaign trail in Tainan, Chen yesterday led a group of DPP officials and legislative candidates campaigning in the northern electoral district of Taipei City to pray at Lungshan Temple (龍山寺). They prayed that the DPP would win at least 100 seats in the legislative elections, and that the pan-green camp would gain control of the Legislative Yuan.

"I believe that peace and happiness are the common prayers of the 23 million Taiwanese people," Chen said in a speech after his prayer.

"From tomorrow, A-bian is going to work together with everyone toward victory in the legislative elections. Hopefully we can make the wish come true and enable our government to do good things for all the people," he said.

Chen received an enthusiastic welcome from DPP supporters at Lungshan temple, where he handed out auspicious amulets.

He said that two auspicious amulets which he always takes with him had helped him to survive the assassination attempt on March 19. Chen expressed the hope that people who received amulets yesterday would also have good luck in life.

The president introduced Chang to the crowd as "the future legislative speaker." This is the first time that Chen has actively and personally declared his support for Chang as legislative speaker.

When asked about Chen's remarks, Chang confirmed that the president has suggested that he should campaign to be elected speaker if the pan-green camp wins the majority in the legislature. But he said the president has not mentioned whether he will be teamed up with the candidate nominated by the Taiwan Solidarity Union (TSU) to contend for the posts of speaker and deputy speaker.

Chang said that he will devote himself to reforming the Legislative Yuan and abolishing the unreasonable regulations that protect lawmakers.

DPP Deputy Secretary-General Lee Ying-yuan (李應元) held a news conference later yesterday to accentuate the president's support of Chang, saying that Chang, who has served as premier and has been a legislator for six terms, is the ideal candidate to become legislative speaker.

"Chang's experience and integrity qualify him to be the speaker. Chang is familiar with how a constitutional government works and has resolved many major controversies when serving as premier, which we believe could bring a new professionalism to the legislature," Lee said.

DPP Deputy Secretary-General Chung Chia-pin (鍾佳濱) said that the legislature has degenerated because of its leadership, and the next speaker will have to rebuild the Legislative Yuan's credibility and dignity since so many lawmakers treat the legislature as their "legal shelter."

To give momentum to Chang's campaign, DPP Information and Culture Department Director Cheng Wen-tsan (鄭文燦) said the party's next series of campaign ads will be targeted against Chang's opponent, incumbent Legislative Speaker Wang Jin-pyng (王金平), and will refer to claims of "black gold" politics and Wang's involvement with fugitive former legislator Wu Tze-yuan (伍澤元).

Meanwhile, pro-independence advocates yesterday held a news conference to urge voters to support the candidates of the pan-green camp, saying that this round of legislative elections were a juncture for ascertaining the national identification of the people of Taiwan. They urged voters not to allow candidates who speak for China to enter the legislature.

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