Wed, Jan 18, 2006 - Page 3 News List

Hsieh's resignation gets mixed reaction

RECOGNITION Lawmakers from both camps said that the premier had done his best in a difficult situation, after he made public his decision to resign yesterday

By Ko Shu-ling  /  STAFF REPORTER

Lawmakers yesterday expressed divided opinions over Premier Frank Hsieh's (謝長廷) decision to resign.

Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) caucus whip Chen Chin-jun (陳景峻) said his caucus recognized Hsieh's determination to resign and would continue to support his successor.

Chen, however, emphasized that the new premier would face a tough time in the legislature if the pan-blue camp maintains its legislative majority.

"Facing the barbaric and irrational pan-blue alliance, the new premier must communicate efficiently with opposition parties and try to find common ground," Chen said.

In addition to calling on the new premier to visit opposition lawmakers to solicit support during the Lunar New Year, Chen requested that Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) Chairman Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) show some goodwill and stop blocking government bills merely for the sake of opposition.

While Chen said he has no doubt about the capability of former DPP chairman Su Tseng-chang (蘇貞昌), who is the frontrunner for the post, he is worried that Su might not be able to accomplish much during his tenure if the ruling and opposition parties fail to cooperate in the legislature.

Taiwan Solidarity Union (TSU) caucus whip Mark Ho (何敏豪) called on President Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁) to make the new premier ask the legislature to reconsider the arms procurement budget and appealed to the DPP administration to be consistent in its decision making.

The opposition-dominated legislature last Thursday voted down the NT$10.9 billion (US$338 million) budget earmarked for Patriot missile batteries and a NT$272.62 million outlay preparing for the purchase of items remaining in the special arms procurement package.

TSU Legislator Lo Chih-ming (羅志明), who doubles as the party's secretary-general, praised the accomplishments that Hsieh made over the past 11 months and called on Hsieh's successor to concentrate on the job and refrain from running for the 2008 presidential election.

Lo also requested that the new premier implement the "active management, effective opening" cross-strait economic policy set forth in the president's New Year address.

KMT caucus whip Pan Wei-kang (潘維剛) called on the president to acknowledge his numerical disadvantage in the legislature.

"If the new premier is appointed to realize [the president's] will rather than bearing in mind the interests of the people and the nation, it does not matter who takes the post, the person is bound to experience frustration," she said.

Pan said that she was disappointed to see Hsieh's "reconciliation and co-existence" approach become a mere slogan and to see him use the budget reconsideration as a political bargaining chip.

People First Party (PFP) caucus whip Hwang Yih-jiau (黃義交) said he would like to recognize Hsieh's contribution while condemning the president's leadership and calling on Su to think twice before taking the offer.

"It's stupid, the problem lies in the Presidential Office, not the Executive Yuan," Hwang said. "Four premiers have been replaced over the past six years. It only reflects the fact that the president uses premiers like servants."

Meanwhile, Ma said yesterday that Hsieh's decision to resign was right after his request for the legislature to reconsider the annual budget failed to win the support of the Presidential Office.

Ma lauded Hsieh's move as "setting a good example."

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