Sun, Aug 20, 2006 - Page 3 News List

Shih denies link between campaign, tycoon

GOOD COMPANY Shih Ming-teh said he was good friends with Chen Yu-hao but that the fugitive businessman was not part of his campaign to oust the president

STAFF WRITER , WITH CNA

A vehicle with members of the Association for Taiwan Independence blocks a main exit from Chenghuang Temple in Chiayi County yesterday. The temple was the site of a protest organized by the Democratic Action Alliance to call for President Chen Shui-bian to step down. The two groups scuffled at the site yesterday, despite attempts by police to separate them.

PHOTO: HSIEH YIN-CHUNG, TAIPEI TIMES

Former Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) chairman Shih Ming-teh (施明德) yesterday said that his campaign calling on President Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁) to step down had nothing to do with fugitive tycoon Chen Yu-hao (陳由豪).

Shih made the remarks at a press conference in Taipei, where he displayed photos he had taken with Chen Yu-hao during a visit to Thailand last year.

He said that "Chen [Yu-hao] and I are definitely good friends."

Chen Yu-hao, former chairman of the Tuntex Group who fled to the US, is listed as one of the country's 10 most-wanted fugitives.

Shih has launched a campaign inviting a million people to join him in a sit-in to pressure Chen Shui-bian to step down.

DPP legislators have said that his campaign to oust the president was linked to the fugitive tycoon, who during the 2004 presidential election had accused Chen Shui-bian of accepting millions of dollars in illegal political donations.

Shih yesterday also said he was under surveillance.

"I am just a civilian. My conduct has nothing to do with government business. Why am I being followed and bugged?" he asked.

DPP Chairman Yu Shyi-kun, in Ilan yesterday, said that the party would "absolutely not cover up" irregularities by the president if he had committed any.

Shih's campaign to oust Chen Shui-bian was "wrong," Yu said.

Yu said he believed the president was not involved in any wrongdoing in relation to corruption allegations involving his family members and close aides.

If the president had really made an error, the public could press him to step down through constitutional procedures, such as a recall or impeachment motions, Yu said.

Yu said the nation's laws stipulate that the president will be removed from office if he is impeached, if a presidential recall proposal is passed in a public referendum, or if he is convicted of sedition or treason.

However, so far the president had not been proven to have committed any crimes, Yu said, and he called on the public not to resort to measures that fall outside the constitutional system.

Yu said that while he respected the protesters' freedom to express their opinions, attempting to oust the president through demonstrations would only jeopardize political stability and disrupt the lives of local residents.

He said such tactics would create a vicious cycle that encouraged people to resort to these methods to topple those in power in future.

Separately, Vice President Annette Lu (呂秀蓮) yesterday said she did not believe it was proper to handle the country's constitutional problems with mass movements.

She urged the public to take a rational attitude toward dealing with the nation's challenges.

Former president Lee Teng-hui (李登輝) said on Friday during a meeting with a group of Taiwan Solidarity Union legislators and several think tank leaders that the campaigns and statements calling on Chen Shui-bian to step down were nothing but "boisterous" political gestures and were not critical to Taiwan's survival.

In related news, members of the Democratic Action League and the president's supporters got into a shouting match and scuffled with police who tried to separate them when both parties turned up at a temple in Chiayi County.

The Democratic Action League has obtained a permit to use Ketagelan Boulevard from Sept. 9 to Sept. 10 for its campaign urging the president to step down.

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