Sun, Dec 19, 2004 - Page 3 News List

Chen clarifies remark on constitutional reform

BACKTRACKING Chen said he is not seeking to assume the powers of the premier when he mused about the political system of the Marshall Islands

By Huang Tai-lin  /  STAFF REPORTER

President Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁) yesterday clarified his recent proposal to change the government system to a similar to the parliamentary-presidential system of the Marshall Islands, saying that the proposal should not be taken as meaning that he intends to act concurrently as premier.

Chen made the remarks while receiving President of Marshall Islands Kessai Note at the Presidential Office. Note and his wife made the visit yesterday before their departure, concluding a five-day visit in Taiwan. "Everyone knows that constitutional reform ought not to serve to one person or one party's self-interest," said Chen.

"Even if both the ruling and the opposition parties reach consensus on constitutional reform, the new constitution won't be implemented until 2008. Therefore, no matter how the constitutional reform turns out, it won't be applied to me," said Chen, whose second term in office expires in May 2008.

Chen was referring to his remarks made on Thursday night regarding the government system of the Marshall Islands.

During a banquet held in Taitung in honor of Note and his delegation, Chen mentioned that the government system of the Marshall Islands, under which the president is both the head of state and head of government, might be a model that Taiwan can follow.

Chen then pointed out that the president of the Marshall Islands is elected by the parliament with majority support from among its members, meaning that the majority party in the parliament has the right to form the government.

The proposal was put forth in response to an argument by the opposition Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) that the majority in the Legislative Yuan should enjoy the right to form the Cabinet.

The proposal to change the government system to one similar to the parliamentary-presidential system of the Marshall Islands is only a constitutional amendment idea for public reference, said Chen yesterday, adding that amendment to the Constitution will be needed should any party is interested in changing Taiwan's governmental system to one that allows the majority party in the legislature the right to form the government.

Via the event yesterday, Chen also took the opportunity to share his joy of becoming a grandfather of another grandson.

Chen's elder daughter, Hsing-yu (陳幸妤), gave birth to her second son on Friday, one day after Note's sixth grandchild was born.

Noting the coincidence, Chen said the almost simultaneous birth of another grandchild to the first families of both Taiwan and the Marshall Islands this week symbolizes the stability of relations between the two countries.

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