Thu, Jan 17, 2008 - Page 3 News List

Chang will remain as premier: Chen

THE PATH DPP members should not dwell on who was responsible for the setbacks during the legislative vote, Chen said. They should instead focus on the presidency

By Ko Shu-ling  /  STAFF REPORTER

Flanked by Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) Secretary-General Wu Den-yi, left, and Chairman Wu Poh-hsiung, right, Legislative Speaker Wang Jin-pyng yesterday expresses his gratitude at KMT headquarters in Taipei after the Central Standing Committee approved his nomination to run again for legislative speaker.

PHOTO: CHEN TSE-MING, TAIPEI TIMES

Premier Chang Chun-hsiung (張俊雄) will continue to lead the government following the resignation of the Cabinet, President Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁) said yesterday, adding that he would discuss the new Cabinet with Democratic Progressive Party presidential candidate Frank Hsieh (謝長廷) after he returns home from Central America.

Chen told reporters in Saint Lucia that he would reappoint Chang as premier if nothing unusual happened. Chang had said he would lead the Cabinet to resign on Jan. 28, as per custom.

Council of Hakka Affairs Deputy Minister Chiu Yi-ying (邱議瑩) and Sports Affairs Council Deputy Chairman Tsai Huang-liang (蔡煌瑯) -- who were elected as legislators-at-large -- will have to resign their positions.

Chen said that he would discuss the new appointments with Hsieh as soon as he returns from his trip.

Chen dismissed claims that he and Hsieh had a different campaign strategy, saying they saw eye to eye on the notion that a Taiwan-centered consciousness should not be abandoned.

Chen said there is no such thing as a "middle way" and that the path he has adopted is that of Taiwan-centered consciousness and social justice, adding that he believed Hsieh would continue down the same road.

"The path of Taiwan-centered consciousness is the mainstream and the correct one to take," he said.

"There is nothing wrong with that. We must insist on doing the right thing and going down the right path. Don't ever abandon it simply because we lost the [legislative] elections," he said.

Chen said many factors had contributed to the party's defeat in the legislative elections and that as party chairman he should be held fully responsible.

Saying he did not want to see party members dwell on the issue of who should be held responsible for the defeat, Chen urged the party to focus on the presidential election in March. It is the responsibility of Hsieh and all party members to help the party win the March election, he said.

Chen, who resigned as party chairman following the party's defeat, said Hsieh would be the "leading actor" during the electoral campaign and would dictate campaign strategy.

While the referendum seeking to reclaim Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) stolen assets failed on Saturday, Chen said he was optimistic about the referendum on joining the UN under the name "Taiwan," which will be held concurrently with the March election.

Chen said the two referendums proposed by the DPP and the KMT were both meant to safeguard the nation's sovereignty.

In an interview with Formosa TV last night, Hsieh said he would appoint a chief executive officer (CEO) from the business world as premier if elected president in March.

That person would have to be acceptable to the KMT, he said.

"A business CEO knows about time, cost, the market and consumers, and thus would run the government in an efficient way," he said.

Responding to a media report that interpreted some of his comments as meaning that, given the KMT-dominated legislature, he would "passively" exercise his presidential powers, Hsieh said he would rather characterize his comment as meaning that he would seek "reconciliation and co-existence."

Hsieh said he would not "hand over" to the KMT the power to form a cabinet.

"If the president gives up the power to form a cabinet unconditionally, he will become a titular president," he said.

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