Sat, Sep 23, 2006 - Page 3 News List

I'm not after power, Shih says

DENIALS The head of the campaign to force the president to step down said that his intentions were pure, and that all he wanted was to help clean up the nation's politics

By Mo Yan-chih  /  STAFF REPORTER

The leader of the anti-President Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁) campaign yesterday said he would not form a new political party, run for any office or participate in political negotiations.

Shih Ming-teh (施明德) said the goal and motive of the anti-Chen campaign was simple and clear: To force Chen to step down and give Taiwan a "clean" environment. He said that he and other campaign members had not intention of using the anti-Chen campaign as a springboard to political office.

"Political leaders do not need to worry about me," Shih said at a press conference held at The Mayor's Residence Art Salon. "No one has the right to reap what the people have sown. It's the people's moment."

Regarding the recent speculation about a possible change in the political system amid the ongoing sit-in, Shih said that such development showed that "people power" was finally having an effect through the protests.

"I had said that `people power' will lead to political negotiations," he said. "Standing with the people, I will be watching the conclusion of the consultations simply as an observer."

Shih also took the opportunity to deny rumors that he had met with former president Lee Teng-hui (李登輝) to discuss the current standoff between opponents and supporters of the president.

Asked whether he would accept the outcome of ongoing political negotiations, Shih said that it was too early to tell.

Shih has said that there is no "exit strategy" for the sit-in and that he will not call off the campaign unless the president steps down.

While repeating that he would not interfere with any political consultations, Shih expressed his support for a parliamentary system, because the current semi-presidential system had allowed Chen to abuse his power.

"I suggested to Chen in 2004 that he should adopt a parliamentary system, but he favors a presidential system," he said.

Meanwhile, the anti-Chen campaign yesterday announced that it will hold a large-scale rally on Sept. 30, which they hope will attract more than 300,000 protesters, according to Chan Che (詹澈), a member of Shih's campaign. Organizers said they have dubbed the event the "seven-color peace parade," in an effort to get away from the focus on the color red -- which has become closely associated with the campaign in recent weeks -- and embrace all the colors of the rainbow.

Details of the rally route have not yet been decided, Chang said.

The campaign will need to leave the Ketagalan Boulevard as of midnight Wednesday, when the area will be cleared through Oct. 12 for the preparation, celebration and cleanup from the Double Ten National Day ceremony.

The Taipei City Police Department said that it had approved the camp's application to hold events in front of the former Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) headquarters on the east end of Ketagalan Boulevard next Thursday and Friday.

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