Fri, Aug 24, 2007 - Page 3 News List

No timetable for constitutional change: Yu

By Flora Wang  /  STAFF REPORTER

Dempocratic Progressive Party presidential candidate Frank Hsieh speaks outside a temple in Kaohsiung yesterday. Hsieh was met by Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) Kaohsiung City Councilor Chen Han-sheng, who said he felt he had to call Hsieh ``president.''

PHOTO: KUO YUNG-HSIANG, TAIPEI TIMES

Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Chairman Yu Shyi-kun said yesterday he would not set a timetable for altering the nation's title and Constitution, as this would only create unnecessary constraints.

"Although I am in favor of writing a new constitution, changing the nation's title and joining the UN under the name `Taiwan,' I do not have a specific timetable," Yu said in a radio interview yesterday.

Yu denied that his remarks were targeted at DPP presidential candidate Frank Hsieh (謝長廷), who said on July 31 that he would amend the nation's title and write a new constitution within five years if elected president.

"[My push for a `normal country' resolution] is not a countermeasure to Hsieh's policy as the media have speculated," Yu said. "No, we [party headquarters] are not trying to draw up a to-do list for Hsieh if he is elected."

The DPP unveiled the first draft of its "normal country" resolution on Aug. 1.

Yu said the DPP Central Executive Committee meeting on Wednesday had agreed the resolution was necessary ahead of the elections next year.

However, Chinese-language newspapers, including the Liberty Times (the Taipei Times' sister newspaper), reported yesterday that Hsieh questioned the feasibility of the draft during the meeting. In particular, Hsieh was said to have taken umbrage at a section stating that the party "must act immediately and should not hesitate to change the nation's title and write a new constitution in order to get rid of the constraints of the system of the Republic of China."

Yu said that Hsieh supported the resolution, but had input on its content and wording.

Yu said the resolution was necessary to distinguish the DPP from the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) and its presidential candidate Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九).

Yu said DPP public opinion surveys conducted since May indicated "a problem with DPP supporters' enthusiasm." He said that Hsieh had fallen behind Ma in popularity since last month.

"DPP surveys are very accurate. Therefore, I need to ... review the party's approach," Yu said.

"It is OK for Hsieh to choose his approach, but the party's basic values must be respected. The party cannot lose its ideals," he said.

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