Thu, Oct 12, 2006 - Page 3 News List

Protests reflected democracy, Chen tells foreign guests

By Ko Shu-ling  /  STAFF REPORTER

President Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁) said yesterday that the disturbances on Double Ten National Day reflected the preciousness of Taiwan's democracy but he emphasized that the maintenance of order is equally important.

"Despite the disturbances, street protests and illegal assembly on the streets of Taipei, I'm happy that things finally returned to normal," Chen said. "Freedom of speech is fully protected here in Taiwan, but traffic laws, social order and constitutional procedure, all of which concern the common interest of the people, must be thoroughly carried out."

Freedom of the minority must not hamper that of the majority and that is the essence of Taiwan's democracy, Chen told Malawi's National Assembly Speaker Louis Chimango.

Chen made similar remarks when meeting Belize Governor General Sir Colville Young at the Presidential Office.

"Taiwan is a fully fledged democracy where freedom of speech is fully protected and different ideas are tolerated," Chen said. "The clamor that happened on national day displays the pluralism and dynamism of Taiwan's democracy."

He told the president of Swaziland's Senate, Gelane Zwane, that he was determined to push for constitutional reform.

"Taiwan has gone through several rounds of constitutional reform over the years but we are not very satisfied," he said. "We are still not very happy with the last constitutional re-engineering program that passed in June last year."

Chen said he hoped to aggressively push for a new constitution that would be timely, relevant and viable, in a bid to enhance governance and upgrade the nation's competitiveness.

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