Thu, Dec 15, 2005 - Page 3 News List

Ma urges Lu, Chen to bury the hatchet

By Mo Yan-chih  /  STAFF REPORTER

Not everyone has been appalled by all the recent speculation surrounding the falling out of President Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁) and vice president Annette Lu (呂秀蓮). The pan-blue parties have been busy using the ruckus to paint the ruling party as dysfunctional, and a threat to the nation's image.

Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) Chairman Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) said yesterday that the recent personal discord between the president and the vice president could potentially damage the nation's image, and that the two of them should put a halt to the row immediately in the interests of the country as a whole.

"I think the current tension affects the national image and the functioning of the government. They should end their dispute immediately," Ma said yesterday before receiving foreign guests at Taipei City Hall in his capacity as Taipei mayor.

However, Ma was quick to deny that he was trying to take advantage of the situation.

As the main opposition party leader, Ma said, he and other opposition figures should not take pleasure in the Democratic Progressive Party's (DPP) internal squabbles. However, he implored the two to stop fighting, saying that the president and the vice president should "exercise restraint for the sake of the country."

"We are not happy about what has happened between them, and we hope that they can sit down together and work things out," he added.

Meanwhile, in response to media reports that quoted Lu as saying that she and Ma shared a lot of characteristics, as they are both Harvard graduates and have reputations for being corruption- free.

Ma acknowledged the fact that he and Lu did both graduate from Harvard. However, that was the only similarity he was willing to concede.

"But I think I have a better temper," he said.

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