Wed, Nov 17, 2004 - Page 3 News List

Pan-blues threaten to sue the president for NT$1

`FRAUDULENT' The opposition camp said it will demand the money in compensation for the president's accusations that the KMT and PFP tried to instigate a `soft coup d'etat'

By Jewel Huang  /  STAFF REPORTER

The pan-blue camp yesterday announced plans to file a civil lawsuit against President Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁) over his recent remarks about a "soft coup d'etat" in the wake of the presidential election.

The opposition parties claim Chen has defamed Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) Chairman Lien Chan (連戰) and People First Party (PFP) Chairman James Soong (宋楚瑜) and said they will demand NT$1 in compensation and that Chen publish apologies in international print media.

KMT Legislator Liao Feng-te (廖風德), who is also the director of the KMT's Organization and Development Committee, and PFP caucus whip Liu Wen-hsiung (劉文雄) yesterday announced the pan-blue camp's decision to sue Chen over his claims in a campaign rally speech that Lien and Soong had attempted to encourage military officers to launch a "soft coup."

Liao said the KMT and PFP will commission lawyer Lee Fu-tien (李復甸) to file a civil lawsuit on behalf of Lien and Soong against Chen.

"The information we received at that time never signaled a coup. Someone attempting to shoot the president was the real coup," Liao said.

Liu said that it was normal for soldiers to take a day off because of illness, and that this could not be used as evidence of a coup.

"It is a fraudulent remark for President Chen to say that Lien and Soong asked high-ranking officers to call in sick and attempt a soft coup, which has insulted Taiwan," Liu said.

In response to the pan-blue camp's lawsuit, Presidential Office Secretary-General Su Tseng-chang (蘇貞昌) said yesterday that "Lien and Soong were the troublemakers behind the incessant disorder since March 20."

"People should recall who caused this trail of disturbances to serve personal interests. I urged people to terminate the disorder caused by Lien and Soong with their votes," Su said.

Earlier yesterday, Chen said that his claim of a "soft coup d'etat" in the wake of the March presidential election was not unfounded.

Chen was speaking at a special news conference held before the Democratic Progressive Party's (DPP) weekly Central Standing Committee meeting.

"I have made a thorough investigation of the people, location and time. And people who were involved in the incident have also confessed," Chen said.

He said that he had mentioned the incident to remind people that the disorder created by Lien and Soong had not been limited to the riots at the Presidential Office, but that they also attempted to trigger disparity between the military and the government.

Chen added that the pan-blue riots were suspected to have been based on collusion with China, because China's Taiwan Affairs Office (國台辦) had announced at the same time that it would not sit back and watch the turbulence in Taiwan.

"That's the way they worked together," Chen said.

He again attributed the failure of the coup to his long-term efforts to depoliticize the military.

"No matter how chaotic the legislature and the news media are, as long as our military is stable, the country is stable," Chen said.

He said that some people did not realize that they were playing with a fire that would consume them.

"For the sake of the country's consolidation and stability, and to avoid more confrontation, we were willing to look at these historical incidents with tolerance and learn the lessons from them," Chen said.

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