Wed, Nov 15, 2006 - Page 3 News List

President regrets DPP pair's resignations, aide says

By Ko Shu-ling and Jimmy Chuang  /  STAFF REPORTERS

Although President Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁) did not comment directly on the surprise resignation of two Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) legislators, a high-ranking presidential official said yesterday Chen regretted the resignations.

"The president regrets that they left their positions without fully understanding the entire situation," Presidential Office Deputy Secretary-General Cho Jung-tai (卓榮泰) said. "However, he has to move on as there are many others things to deal with."

DPP legislators Lin Cho-shui (林濁水) and Lee Wen-chung (李文忠) announced on Monday that they were giving up their seats to protest the party's handling of the corruption scandal involving the first family.

Chen has not commented on the issue directly.

Cho told the Taipei Times that the president has reflected a lot over the past few months and made adjustments accordingly.

One example of this was Chen's conceding power to Premier Su Tseng-chang (蘇貞昌), Cho said.

A presidential aide, who spoke on condition of anonymity, attributed the political stalemate in the legislature over the past six years to the administration's reform efforts and opposition's refusal to concede defeat in the last two presidential elections.

The aide said it was natural for Chen to be troubled by the resignations but was not the kind of person who easily gives up.

Some have urged the president to resign for the sake of social and political stability, the aide said, then disputing that the social and political situation would be better if he stepped down.

Premier Su Tseng-chang (蘇貞昌) yesterday dismissed as "bogus" rumors that Lin and Lee had given up their legislative seats to pave the way for Su's bid to run for president in 2008.

He also denied planning to recruit Lee for the Cabinet.

"Taiwan's media just like to make things look as if everything that happens has an `ulterior motive,'" Su told reporters outside the legislature, adding that he had been surprised and saddened by Lin and Lee's resignations.

Asked if the resignations would have a domino effect, Su said: "Each politician has his own path, making his own choices and taking responsibility for his actions."

Su urged "everybody" to respect the pair's decision.

Later yesterday on the legislative floor, Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) Legislator Wang Yu-ting (王昱婷) asked Su to follow Lin and Lee's footsteps and resign, while People First Party Legislator Hsu Yao-chang (徐耀昌) urged Su to distance himself from Chen.

"You cannot pretend that nothing has happened," Hsu said.

"You need to quit, distance yourself from Chen and do something to save the DPP as well as the poor economy which Chen has brought to us," Hsu said.

"Staying or leaving, the DPP headquarters has decided for me. The DPP has entrusted me with a responsibility ... I have great responsibilities to accomplish," Su said.

The premier urged fellow DPP members to hold fast to the party's motto -- to be a clean official at all times.

"I believe that politicians should leave their posts once they are convicted by the judicial system," Su said.

Additional reporting by CNA

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