President Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁) yesterday defended the candidacies of his 29 Control Yuan nominees and apologized for the "smear attacks they have had to put up with" in the wake of their nomination.
Chen made the remarks during a tea party held at the Presidential Office with the 29 nominees, including Control Yuan presidential nominee Clement Chang (張建邦) and vice presidential nominee Michael Hsiao (蕭新煌).
Also present were Vice President Annette Lu (呂秀蓮), who chaired the nomination screening panel, and Presidential Office Secretary-General Su Tseng-chang (蘇貞昌).
Following disclosure of the list earlier this week, a number of the nominees have been attacked by the opposition parties, who questioned their suitability.
For this, Chen offered his apology and said he felt "sad that these nominees have been wronged and have had to shoulder unnecessary burdens because they were nominated by A-bian."
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"Some people in this society, because they are dissatisfied with me, oppose everything I do," Chen said, adding that he does not feel this is a sign of a healthy society.
Chen noted that he had written letters to opposition parties asking for their recommendation of candidates before finalizing the list. Yet no reply was ever received, Chen said.
"To give up their right to participate before the finalization of the list, and to then -- after the list was revealed -- call for consultations among political parties [as the opposition parties have suggested], is, I think, rather contradictory," Chen said.
He said that, drawing on past experience in nominating Control and Examination Yuan members through negotiations between political parties, the selection of candidates representing different political parties, did not necessarily contribute to harmony between the different parties or avoid confrontation.
"The nominations were not put up for consultation among political parties because I want to preserve the clean image of the Control Yuan," the president said.
Saying that "political considerations" were not an issue throughout the process of making the nominations, Chen said the only time "political considerations" came into play was when he made his decisions about the Control Yuan's presidential and vice presidential nominees.
Chen said this was because he wanted to keep his promise that he would not nominate DPP members to run the Control Yuan.
Chen, who as a legislator in 1991 had severely criticized Chang, the then minister of transportation and communications, over his alleged involvment in the Hualon Corp financial scandal, yesterday said he had later learned that the allegation had been based on a misunderstanding, and he felt bad for his harsh criticism of Chang at the time.
Regarding Nita Ing (殷琪), chairwoman of the Taiwan High Speed Rail Corp (THSRC) who served on the five-member screening panel while the THSRC was the target of investigation by the Control Yuan, the president said that Ing did not represent the THSRC, and that she maintained a neutral position throughout the process.