Sun, Jan 02, 2005 - Page 2 News List

Pan-blues rally round the flag

NEW YEAR WISHES At a flag-raising ceremony, the KMT chairman said he hopes several social policy bills will pass and that Chen will put pan-blues in the new Cabinet

By Caroline Hong  /  STAFF REPORTER

Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) Secretary-General Lin Fong-cheng, right, and other politicians from the KMT, People First Party and New Party attend a flag-rising ceremony held in front of the Chung Shan Hall in Taipei City yesterday.

PHOTO: WANG MIN-WEI, TAIPEI TIMES

Pan-blue wishes for the year ahead include the passage of nine social policy bills by the legislature and for President Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁) to respect the people's will when considering candidates for his new Cabinet.

Speaking at a party flag-raising ceremony in Taipei yesterday, Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) Chairman Lien Chan (連戰) urged pan-blue supporters to unite under the blue sky and white sun symbol of the Republic of China. While calling for the passage of nine major social and educational policies that were part of the KMT's legislative campaign platform, Lien said that among his wishes for the new year were that Taiwan's democracy not become more fragile than it is now, and that the nation have "a majority government, a people's government, and a law-abiding government."

At the ceremony, Lien also called upon Chen to respect the will of the people as shown by the results of last month's legislative elections and form a Cabinet reflective of the pan-blue majority in the legislature.

While Lien declined to speak out on Chen's appeals for bipartisan cooperation yesterday, party representatives were less than optimistic about Chen's motives.

In his New Year address yesterday morning, Chen called for cross-party discussions on important legislation and said he was open to cooperating and listening to opposition parties on the formation of the nation's new Cabinet.

"I hope that Chen will be able to do what he says he will. The KMT will wait and look for further developments, because up to the present time, the governing administration has not sought the KMT for negotiations," said KMT Secretary-General Lin Fong-cheng (林豐正) yesterday when questioned about the address.

Whether or not future developments will go as planned will depend on Chen's sincerity, KMT spokesman Chang Jung-kung (張榮恭) said yesterday in a telephone interview.

"In the past President Chen said a lot of moving things, which led the people to have high expectations. However, he has let the people down time and time again. I hope that in this new year, Chen's promises will be realized and that he will not go back on his word," Chang said.

Chang also said that if Chen wanted to form a Cabinet that would bring stability to domestic politics as mentioned in his address, then Chen should reflect on what is needed in the selection of a new premier. The current premier, Yu Shyi-kun, constantly provoked conflict with opposition parties in the past three years of his term, Chang said. But the instability in the political scene cannot be completely blamed on Yu, Chang added, because Yu is the head of Chen's administrative staff and his attitude is merely a reflection of the wishes of his superiors.

The KMT's flag-raising ceremony yesterday morning was also attended by the New Party and several People First Party (PFP) legislators, ending speculation that the PFP might snub the KMT's New Year celebrations.

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