Thu, Jun 08, 2006 - Page 3 News List

Councilors can't `face' Chen anymore

By Mo Yan-chih and Jean Lin  /  STAFF REPORTERS

New Party Taipei City Councilor Pan Huai-tsung tries to take down President Chen Shui-bian's picture at the Taipei City Council yesterday after the council passed a motion submitted by New Party Councilor Hou Kaun-chiung that the picture be removed.

PHOTO: FANG PIN-CHAO, TAIPEI TIMES

If a picture says a thousand words, then what does the lack of a picture say?

Amid the array of political crusades initiated against President Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁) over his in-laws' alleged involvement in recent scandals, the Taipei City Council made its own, largely symbolic, contribution yesterday.

The council passed a motion to remove Chen's picture from its meeting room.

"Chen Shui-bian has lost the people's trust and lost his credibility as president. Hence, the city council should not hang his picture on the wall anymore," Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) Taipei City Councilor Lee Chin-yuan (李慶元) said during a general meeting of the council.

The Democratic Progressive Party's (DPP) city councilors attacked the motion, which was presented by Lee and New Party Taipei City Councilor Hou Kuan-chiung (侯冠群), as disrespectful to the nation's head of state.

But due to the pan-blue camp's majority on the council, however, the motion was put on the agenda, after which the DPP caucus walked out in protest.

The motion then passed with 27 votes out of 38, as the 10 DPP members were not present and the council speaker does not vote.

Lee had proposed a similar motion in 2004 after Chen was re-elected. He accused Chen of fabricating an assassination attempt to get re-elected.

In response to the Taipei City Council's decision to remove the portrait of the president from the council's meeting room, Minister of the Interior Lee Yi-yang (李逸洋) said the portrait of the country's leader, flag and Sun Yat-sen (孫中山) should be respected.

Lee said that the president represents and symbolizes the country.

Taiwan has had pictures of the current president in schools and government buildings for many years, and should continue to show the same kind of respect, Lee said.

He added that regulations stipulate that all government buildings and schools must have a display with the national flag hung at the center, Sun Yat-sen's portrait below the flag, and the current president's picture across from it.

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