Sun, Jul 15, 2007 - Page 2 News List

Ma to promote a `second wave' of democratic reform

By Mo Yan-chih  /  STAFF REPORTER

Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) presidential candidate Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) said yesterday he would push for a second wave of democratic reform if elected president next year.

Ma is expected to unveil his second democratic reform policies today in Nantou County.

He has said he would create an evaluation committee in 2010 to look at constitutional reform and nominate a premier acceptable to the legislature, while limiting the president's authority to the fields of foreign policy, cross-strait affairs and national security.

"Taiwan must look ahead and walk toward a democratic future with vision. We need to further advance democracy ... and raise it to a higher level," Ma said yesterday while attending the 100th anniversary of the Taipei Water Park in Gongguan.

Following the lifting of martial law in 1987, a series of democratic reforms were launched, including an end to the ban on the formation of political parties and the elimination of the cap on the number of newspapers allowed to run.

Ma has proposed to abide by the Constitution and to respect the spirit of the dual executive system before pushing for constitutional reform when the time is ripe.

Ma has repeatedly urged the government to implement the Constitution and nominate a premier who is acceptable to the legislature.

During the KMT congress, he has also promised he would pick a Democratic Progressive Party (DPP)-affiliated premier if his party won a majority in the legislature.

Meanwhile, Ma lashed out at the government yesterday for what he claimed constituted a decision that ignored the interests of the population by deciding to hold separate legislative and presidential elections next year.

"Holding separate elections within two months will come at a great cost ... Most people wanted to hold the elections together, but the DPP decided to follow the wishes of one individual," Ma said, declining to say who he was referring to.

The Central Election Commission decided on July 6 that the presidential election would be held on March 22 while the legislative election would be held on Jan. 12, turning down a KMT proposal that the two elections be combined.

"The DPP should not put the party's interests ahead of those of the people," he said.

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