Fri, Jun 10, 2005 - Page 3 News List

Chen calls on public to support more amendments

By Ko Shu-ling  /  STAFF REPORTER

President Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁) yesterday reiterated his resolve to push for a second round of constitutional amendments, while opposition parties questioned the feasibility and urged him to spend more time improving the economy and people's livelihood.

"Constitutional amendments and economic improvement can actually go hand-in-hand," Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) caucus whip Lai Ching-te (賴清德) quoted Chen as saying. "If there was only economic improvement and no reform, the country is like a scarecrow which has a body but does not have a soul."

Chen made the remarks yesterday afternoon while meeting 23 DPP lawmakers at the Taipei Guest House, for what was the fourth and final round of talks he has held with party's 89 legislators.

Lai said Chen also expressed optimism over the success of the second-phase reform, but urged the public to join with the government to push for the reform because the issues include topics of concern to the people.

The second-phase would put the three labor rights -- freedom of association, the right to bargain collectively and the right to strike -- into the Constitution. The DPP also wants to put the Partnership Treaty between the Aboriginal peoples into the Constitution.

No one would have expected the Referendum Law (公投法) to pass the legislature in 2003, Lai quoted Chen as saying, nor that a "defensive referendum" could be held last year and the constitutional amendments would be ratified by the National Assembly this week.

"It proves one thing -- everything is possible," Chen said. "With the support of the people, perseverance and determination will prevail and both the opposition parties and the legislature will eventually have to bow to the will of the people."

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