Fri, Aug 11, 2006 - Page 3 News List

Without Lee, Shih Ming-teh is in the outfield

By Ko Shu-ling  /  STAFF REPORTER

Former Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) chairman Shih Ming-teh's (施明德) call for the resignation of President Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁) may have limited effect unless he is joined by other significant figures, such as former president Lee Teng-hui (李登輝), analysts say.

"The DPP will continue to support Chen unless he becomes a liability in upcoming elections," said Liao Da-chi (廖達琪), a political science professor at National Chungshan University. "[Shih's call] may have some symbolic political meaning but he has marginal influence in local politics."

Liao pointed out that Shih lost to the DPP's Frank Hsieh (謝長廷) in the 2002 Kaohsiung City mayoral election, garnering only 8,750 votes, or 1.13 percent of the total ballots, as an independent candidate.

Shih wrote a letter to Chen on Monday, urging him to step down from his post since he has lost the people's trust following his son-in-law's alleged involvement in a corruption scandal and a recent controversy over the Presidential Office's special allowance fund.

Shih is planning to hold a press conference tomorrow to boost support for the campaign against Chen.

Liao said that while Chen did not need to worry too much about Shih, he might want to monitor Lee's attitude.

"It is very likely that Lee will ask Chen to step down. This is because Lee has to distance himself from Chen in a bid to help the TSU increase its odds of winning in next year's legislative elections," she said. "I suspect that Lee will not wait too long."

In addition to Lee, speculation is mounting that another former DPP chairman, Lin I-hsiung (林義雄), might ask Chen to resign.

Liao said that any move by Lee was bound to put more pressure on Chen than action by Lin.

This is because Lin, who has left the DPP, has less political influence than Lee, Liao said.

Shih Cheng-feng (施正鋒), who is a professor at Tamkang University's Department of Public Administration, however, cast doubt on the possibility that Lee and Lin would join forces with Shih.

"I don't think Lin would ask Chen to step down because Chen has responded favorably to most of his demands over the years," he said.

"Nor do I think Lee would demand Chen's resignation, because Chen still follows Lee's path in terms of cross-strait economic policy," he added.

Shih Cheng-feng said that he suspected Shih Ming-teh's call for Chen to step down would have limited effect.

He did not think Chen needed to worry too much about it.

"Shih Ming-teh and other former DPP heavyweights such as former DPP chairman Hsu Hsin-liang (許信良) may please some pan-blue supporters with their anti-Bian [Chen] remarks, they do not necessarily have much influence on pro-independence supporters," he said.

Commenting on Shih Ming-teh's justification for Chen's resignation, Shih Cheng-feng said he though it was unfair to hold Chen accountable for the political stalemate.

Unless the president was found guilty of wrongdoing or abuse of power, Shih Cheng-feng said that any campaign against him was bound to create resistance in the pan-green camp and compel them to rally to his defense.

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