President Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁) apologized to women yesterday for comparing the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) to a "bickering woman" following its about-face in the voting format for the legislative election and two referendums.
Presidential Office Spokesman David Lee (
During an interview with a radio station in Taichung on Sunday night, Chen compared the furor caused by the KMT's insistence on the two-step voting system over the past month to "a woman who makes a row for no obvious reason."
Lee said it is a well-known fact that Chen has attached great importance to women's rights during his presidency. He not only defends women's rights to participate in politics, but also established an advisory taskforce under the Presidential Office to promote gender mainstreaming and protect women's rights, he said. Chen also appointed eight female Cabinet officials in 2000, he said.
While the Central Election Commisssion adopted a one-step voting procedure, the KMT had insisted that its administrations would use a two-step voting system, under which voters first cast their legislative election ballots before they are given their referendum ballots.
The KMT later reversed its decision following a meeting between the KMT and pan-blue local government heads. The KMT's Central Standing Committee yesterday resolved to boycott the two referendums to be held concurrently with next week's legislative elections.
KMT caucus whip Kuo Su-chun (
At a press conference, Kuo said the president had failed to prevent his fellow party members from making comments offensive to the ears and set a poor example himself.
The president owes the public an apology, she said.
Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) legislative caucus whip Wang Tuoh (
"I must admit that men of my generation would say things like that sometimes. But I assure you that it was merely a metaphor," Wang said.
Wang made the remarks during a press conference at the DPP legislative caucus office yesterday morning.
He emphasized that the president was only complaining about the KMT's illogical behavior and the fact that it was forever changing its policy and did not intend to insult woman with its choice of wording.
Additional reporting by Flora Wang and Jimmy Chuang
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