Sun, May 22, 2005 - Page 3 News List

Vice president rips into presidential adviser system

SHARING HER THOUGHTS Vice President Annette Lu talked about her presidential ambitions and the need for government reform during her holiday getaway

By Lindy Yeh  /  STAFF REPORTER , IN HSUEN-PA NATIONAL PARK

Vice President Annette Lu walks down Snow Mountain where she participated in a nature clean-up promotional activity yesterday. Lu later spoke at a press conference where she called for reforms to the presidential adviser system.

PHOTO: CNA

Vice President Annette Lu (呂秀蓮) yesterday called for reform to the presidential adviser selection system, saying the system has been marred by controversy and is limited in function.

"The presidential adviser system was established by the previous regime. But the advisers' functions are limited and [the existence of the system] has been controversial. Therefore, I would like to take this opportunity to call for reform to the system," Lu said.

Lu made the remarks in response to a question about whether the list of presidential advisers released on Friday represents President Chen Shui-bian's (陳水扁) reconciliation with the Democratic Progressive Party's (DPP) "deep greens," a group which lashed out at Chen when Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) Chairman Lien Chan (連戰) and People First Party Chairman James Soong (宋楚瑜) made visits to China.

Instead of answering the question directly, the vice president called for a reform to the system.

To show her appreciation of nature, Lu yesterday held a press conference at Wuling Farm in Hsueh-pa National Park.

Lu also expressed regret over the bill passed in the legislature on Friday which requires the National Assembly to ratify amendments by a three-quarters majority vote. The law also allow the National Assembly members to abstain from a vote.

"In [last Saturday's] election, 83 percent of voters backed parties that support the constitutional amendment package, translating to 249 seats in the National Assembly. Supposedly the constitutional amendments would pass without the need to convene the National Assembly," Lu said.

Not only does the law governing the functions of the National Assembly require a three-quarters majority of votes, it also allows representatives to abstain, a move that the vice president was made "in bad faith."

Lu also said the legislature had turned the National Assembly elections into a joke by passing the law.

"What if some National Assembly representatives who were supposed to vote for the amendments abstain from voting? Should they still get paid?" she said.

When asked to comment on the possibility for a meeting between President Chen and Chinese President Hu Jintao (胡錦濤), Lu said such a meeting was unlikely.

Since China has made the "one China" principle a precondition for cross-strait negotiations, and only those Taiwanese politicians who denounce independence are interested in talks with Beijing. Lu said the chance for a Chen-Hu meeting was slim.

"We should not jump to any conclusion before 2008," Lu said, adding that cross-strait issues not only concern Taiwan and China, but also the US.

"As Chen and [US President George W.] Bush are to complete their terms in office in 2008 and China will hold the 2008 Olympic Games that year, there may be a chance for a breakthrough in cross-strait relations," Lu said.

When asked about her teaming up with Shin Kong Wu Ho-su Memorial Hospital deputy superintendent Huang Fang-yen (黃芳彥) to run in the 2008 presidential election, Lu said she may do so, but only under the DPP banner.

Lu said she was surprised that First Lady Wu Shu-chen (吳淑珍) had made such a prediction while she was in the US.

"[Wu] might think that since the DPP won't nominate me as the presidential candidate in 2008, I would therefore quit the party. I can tell you all I will not leave the party," the vice president said.

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