Mon, Nov 22, 2004 - Page 3 News List

Chen's `soft coup' claim a part of DPP campaigning

TACTICS Although the president's coup claims remain unsubstantiated, the accusation was useful in directing attention to issues favorable to the DPP, analysts say

By Huang Tai-lin  /  STAFF REPORTER

DPP Deputy Secretary-General Chung Chia-pin (鍾佳濱) explained the differences between the four campaign groups and the one led by Chen.

While the four campaign groups are mainly focussing on attacking weaknesses within the pan-blue camp, such as the KMT's stolen party assets and the alliance's opposition to the government's proposed NT$610.8 billion (US$18 billion) arms procurement budget. Chen's campaign tour, on the other hand aims to convey the pan-green camp's messages in a bid to win voter support.

"To meet the expectation of those who long for stability and progress, [Chen's campaign message] will communicate to the voters a happy, hopeful and positive vision for the future," Chung said.

For instance, when Chen's campaign trail took him to Tainan County, Chen pledged that once the pan-green camp gains a majority legislature, the first priority will be to pass the Disposition of Assets Improperly Obtained by Political Parties Law.

The money obtained by recovering assets stolen by the KMT during its 50-year rule will be used to pay for students' textbooks, Chen said.

Chen also said that the legislature will set up truth investigation committees to look into past injustices, such as the 228 Massacre in 1947, the Kaohsiung Incident and unresolved cases from the White Terror era.

When he made a campaign stop in Changhua and Taichung counties, Chen also pledged to pass the National Pension Law should the pan-greens win a majority in the legislature. The passage of the law will allow senior citizens aged 65 or older to receive a monthly pension of NT$7,500, Chen said.

Legislation governing the Resolution Trust Cooperation would be the new legislature's priority to help advance the nation's economic development, Chen added.

While the pace of election campaigning seemed to go according to the pan-green camp's script, one unexpected incident occurred when Examination Yuan president Yao Chia-wen (姚嘉文) and Examination Yuan member Lin Yu-ti (林玉体), said that while Sun Yat-sen (孫中山) was worthy of respect, they did not support his title as the nation's founding father.

Their rhetoric stemmed from the debate over the revision of the high school history textbook and caused uproar in the political arena.

Seeking to cool the controversy which had detracted from the DPP's main campaign message, Chen had quickly played down the controversy

Chen's subsequent accusation of a "soft coup" had calmed the negative impact brought by the debate over who's the nation's founding father and re-directed the party's campaign massage back to its designed theme of terminating the social disorder stirred by Lien and Soong.

By highlighting the pan-blue camp's image of instability, it is in part also the DPP's goal to break the myth championed by the pan-blue camp that "a pan-blue majority in the Legislature Yuan can efficiently check the ruling party," Chung said, adding that doing so could also boost the pan-green camp's electoral outlook as it may discourage pan-blue supporters from voting.

"The main message that the pan-green camp is aiming to promote among voters is to let them know that gaining a pan-green legislative majority would help move Taiwan away from the past four years of bitter conflict with the opposition parties and allow the government to secure greater progress and reform as it frees itself from quagmire and gridlock," said Cheng.

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