Fri, Jul 21, 2006 - Page 3 News List

Taipei Society tells DPP to keep Chen on a leash

By Jewel Huang  /  STAFF REPORTER

Members of the Taipei Society yesterday urged the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) to monitor President Chen Shui-bian's (陳水扁) conduct and push him to deliver on his political promises. Most importantly, they said, the party should work toward a sound political system in which nepotism played no part.

The group made the remarks at a press conference held yesterday in Taipei, where they stressed the importance of crafting a constitutional system that ensured a balance between power and responsibility.

At the event, the group also publicized a statement entitled "Dialogue and Democratic Reform -- A Letter to the DPP."

The letter said that the DPP might not have to "jettison" the president just yet, but that it had the responsibility to prevent Chen from abusing his power. The party should also ensure that the president delivered on his promises, including his vow to distribute power and implement reforms, the group said.

The letter added that Chen should not convene meetings at which officials from the Presidential Office, Executive Yuan, Legislative Yuan and the DPP were required to be present, because this would give the public the impression that the president was clinging to power.

The president should not intervene in the nomination of the DPP's candidates for elections, nor campaign for them, and should restrain his family members, the group said.

The letter said the president should make a clear distinction between public and personal affairs and make national affairs his top priority.

The group said the DPP should respond to its recommendations at the party's national convention tomorrow.

Hsu Yung-ming (徐永明), an executive member of the group and an assistant research fellow in political science at Academia Sinica, said the DPP needed to think about how to craft a new constitutional system that clearly defined the role of the president to prevent future abuses of power.

"Calling on President Chen Shui-bian to resign based on the criterion of political morality could easily devolve into an emotional issue. I think pushing for an adequate constitutional system is the real solution," he said.

"Since Vice President Annette Lu (呂秀蓮) and Chinese Nationalist Party [KMT] Chairman Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) have their followers, who can guarantee that changing our leader could result in a better world?" Hsu said. "Nepotism will go on if the system does not change."

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