Mon, Jan 07, 2008 - Page 3 News List

Legislative elections and referendums: Lu says DPP saved Taiwan's economy

COUNT DOWN With less than a week until the legislative elections, Chen Shui-bian was scheduled to meet party bigwigs today to talk about last-minute campaign strategies

By Ko Shu-ling  /  STAFF REPORTER

Campaigning in Taipei City yesterday, Vice President Annette Lu (呂秀蓮) said Taiwan "would soon become a second Penghu" if the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) loses Saturday's elections.

Lu likened Taiwan's plight to Penghu, an island group approximately 50km off Taiwan's southwestern coast, saying that part of Penghu's current economic woes is a result of an exodus of its most capable and intelligent residents to Taiwan.

Saying that the country's economic problems result from the relocation of local businesses to China, Lu said Taiwan's economy would have been doomed had the KMT remained in power.

Certain political parties advocate unification with China and are keen to offer Taiwan to China on a platter, she said.

Lu said she is worried that Taiwan's democratic achievement will be reversed if the DPP fails in the legislative elections.

"Taiwan will be safe only if the DPP wins," she said.

Meanwhile, with less than a week until the legislative elections, President Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁) is scheduled to meet party heavyweights today to discuss last-minute campaign strategies.

Chen, who doubles as DPP chairman, will hold the meeting at the DPP headquarters this morning, with Lu, DPP election campaign chief Yu Shyi-kun, Premier Chang Chun-hsiung (張俊雄), DPP presidential candidate Frank Hsieh (謝長廷) and Hsieh's running mate Su Tseng-chang (蘇貞昌) expected to attend.

Hsieh spokesman Chao Tien-lin (趙天麟) said the meeting was called to consolidate the party's determination to win the elections. Chen would like to see high-ranking party officials jointly share the responsibility of the electoral result, Chao said.

Chao dismissed allegations that Hsieh was distancing himself from Saturday's elections, saying that Hsieh believed the triumph of the legislative elections will help boost his chances of winning the presidential election in March.

Chao was referring to a complaint made by Yu on Wednesday.

Yu said some pro-independence groups felt the party's internal affairs as the legislative and presidential elections near should be taken care of like a hen watches over its chicks.

They told Yu that the hen -- referring to Hsieh -- was too busy, however, to do its job, so they didn't have much choice but to ask the rooster -- Chen -- to step in.

In related news, Hsieh yesterday received the endorsement of a group of doctors who formed a campaign advisory team. The move followed on the heels of similar efforts made by his Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) counterpart, Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九).

While many members of the medical sector have traditionally had a close relationship with the DPP, Ma's camp has formed a support group of doctors.

Additional reporting by CNA

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