Sat, Oct 15, 2005 - Page 3 News List

Chen says he will address nation on his reform priorities


President Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁) will speak about his "Six Reform Priorities" on TV tomorrow, and will later travel throughout the nation to explain them directly to the people, participants in a high-level meeting said.

They were quoting remarks Chen made during a dinner party on Thursday night with senior administration officials and influential figures from the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP), including Vice President Annette Lu (呂秀蓮), Premier Frank Hsieh (謝長廷), Presidential Office Secretary-General Yu Shyi-kun, DPP Chairman Su Tseng-chang (蘇貞昌), DPP lawmakers, DPP local government chiefs and candidates for the year-end mayoral and magistrate elections.

Chen also expressed the hope that all DPP legislators will defend the reform priorities whenever the chance arises, the participants said.

The Six Reform Priorities are: financial reform; tax reform; reform to change the preferential interest rates of 18 percent for retired military personnel, civil servants and teachers; media reform; an investigation into properties inappropriately acquired by political parties; and constitutional reform.

Participants also quoted Hsieh as saying that the Executive Yuan will continue to defend its policies. He said that although the public has been critical of his Cabinet, some of its policies have had a positive response, such as the passing of the first-phase constitutional reforms under which the nation will see a dramatic change in the system for electing legislators and the halving of the number of seats in the legislature, as well as a new pension system for laborers.

The government will continue pursuing the assets inappropriately acquired by the Chinese Nationalist Party(KMT) and working to prevent the KMT from selling the assets and using the funds for campaigning for the year-end elections, Hsieh said.

Also speaking at the meeting, Lu said she regretted that meetings were only held after a flurry of scandals, such as the controversial insider stock trading scandal and the Kaohsiung mass rapid transit construction project scandal. She urged DPP members not to underestimate the adverse impact of these scandals on the party.

"Reforms are good things and they will never be too late," Lu was quoted by the participants as saying.

Lu also expressed the hope that the party will take heed of the KMT's three-pronged strategy to sweep the DPP out of power, namely winning the year-end elections, next year's Taipei and Kaohsiung mayoral elections and the presidential election in 2008.

Lu said that she wants to see the communications mechanism between the Presidential Office, the Executive Yuan and the DPP improve, as well as legislators honing their areas of expertise.

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