The public should ask former Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) chairman Shih Ming-teh (施明德), who initiated the anti-Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁) demonstrations, if he has an exit plan rather than asking the administration, DPP Chairman Yu Shyi-kun said yesterday.
"It seems as if the media are helping him to force the DPP to come up with an exit plan for him," Yu said. "I'm in favor of dialogue and negotiation and I'd be very interested in being part of it if there is such an opportunity. However, it would be a better idea for Shih himself to think of a plan to end the street protests he started."
Yu made the remarks yesterday morning while addressing a forum organized by the DPP to discuss constitutional reform.
The DPP's Central Executive Committee is scheduled to discuss, and finalize, its version of constitutional amendments when the committee meets on Oct. 4.
Yu said that the administration was duty-bound to protect the right of legal assembly and marches, but Shih and his followers should go home after they fully express their opinions.
"Things should go back to normal and people must switch their focus to improving the economy," he said.
Claiming that the "red terror" created by Shih's anti-Chen campaign was related to constitutional reform, Yu said the violence that had broken out over the past few days between supporters and opponents of Chen had a lot to do with the non-peaceful means adopted by Shih's camp.
The problem was compounded by some media outlets' around-the-clock broadcasts of the protests and protest organizers' use of provocative language.
"The media are in fact a source of violence," he said. "I'm asking them to exercise self-restraint and refrain from running sensational reports or footage of the demonstrations."
Yu also asked those who use peace and honesty as a pretext to stir up unrest to stop such actions, and urged them to instead commit themselves to pushing for constitutional reform.
Commenting on the remark by former president Lee Teng-hui (李登輝) that the DPP had mobilized its members to counter Shih's campaign, Yu said that his party did not organize the counter-protest and that protesters attended the rally voluntarily.
Lee also said that Legislative Speaker Wang Jin-pyng (
Yu yesterday said that dialogue was good no matter who called the meeting.
DPP legislative caucus whip Ker Chien-ming (柯建銘) said that he did not think that anyone could resolve the current political deadlock.
"The time is not yet ripe," he said. "The problem must eventually be resolved through political negotiations, but I don't see any opportunity for that happening now."
Ker said that he agreed with Lee that Ma was not a suitable person to invite political leaders for a meeting to help defuse political tensions.
"Ma, who has lost objectivity in the handling of his party's ill-gotten assets, cannot play a good role," Ker said. "If he wants to fight against corruption, shouldn't he release his party's assets first?"
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