Tue, Jun 06, 2006 - Page 3 News List

Ma denies being `too soft' toward the president

CNA , TAIPEI

Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) Chairman Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) refused to be branded as "too soft" toward scandal-plagued President Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁) yesterday and challenged those who have this impression of him to "just wait and see" his "ferocious side."

Ma, who also serves as Taipei mayor, made the remarks while fielding questions at the Taipei City Council.

KMT City Councilor Li Keng Kui-fang (厲耿桂芳) asked Ma to explain his positions on two separate proposals to dismiss the Cabinet and recall the president, who is dogged by a series of scandals involving his senior aides and family members.

Li-Keng urged Ma to "harden up" and not "fall into the president's trap" by accepting his concession to allow the pan-blue alliance to form the Cabinet.

In reply, Ma said that although he did not know the origin of reports that the president was considering letting the majority party in the legislature form the Cabinet, he was sure that the proposal was intended to shift attention from the crisis faced by the president.

"I'm not so stupid as to dance to their tune," he said, adding that the most important thing at present was to get to the bottom of all the corruption scandals.

Ma said the proposal to allow the majority party in the legislature to form the Cabinet would cause a disturbance in the opposition parties and create a new political struggle.

The Democratic Progressive Party has never held a majority in the Legislative Yuan since Chen was first elected in 2000.

News reports on Sunday said the president was "starting to seriously consider" Legislative Speaker Wang Jin-pyng's (王金平) suggestion that he invite the majority party to form the Cabinet to overcome political gridlock in the last two years of his second term.

The KMT chairman has been criticized by members of his own party for his reluctance to support a motion to recall the president.

He has said it is "not time yet to pull the trigger."

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