Beware selfish politicians, Chen warns students


Sun, Oct 19, 2003 - Page 3

Political figures who care only about themselves and dwell in the past, will always be opposed to the deepening of democracy, President Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁) said yesterday.

Although Chen did not name either Lien Chan (連戰) or James Soong (宋楚瑜), two prominent figures in the former Chinese National Party (KMT) government, who will challenge him in the presidential election next year, Chen's remarks were widely understood to be aimed at his opponents.

"If political figures only think about themselves, then they will only be able to dwell in the past and try to cling to their privileges and position, " the president said, adding that such political figures "are antagonistic toward reform, fearful of democracy, and mistrustful of the people." He said that politicians with this mentality will be unable to move forward with the people and could even plunge the nation into danger.

Chen was addressing the opening ceremony of two classes at the Ketagalan Institute, a school he founded for nurturing future leaders of the nation.

Faced with the nation's woes accumulated over five decades of authoritarian rule, Chen said, the people have long aspired for reform, which he said could not be accomplished over the course of a single presidential term.

Referring to the last presidential election in which the KMT regime which had ruled the nation for more than 50 years was swept out of power, Chen said "we should not unrealistically think that the problems accumulated over the past five decades can evaporate in one day."

"Nor should we expect that those political figures who are opposed to democracy, reform and progress will suddenly turn around and become the standard bearers of reform."

The president made the comments in highlighting his theme of "reform vs. anti-reform" for his re-election bid in the next presidential election next March.

Chen said that "what we should be going after is enlisting more reform-minded people to join the reform campaign" so that the force of reform will gain broader support and the nation will be able to move forward.

The president also said that the road to reform is long and winding and the resistance of the anti-reformists is "beyond your imagination," but he added that if one cannot bear the pain of carrying out reform or if one withdraws because of fear of losing power, then all previous efforts and sacrifices will be wasted.

The Ketagalan Institute inaugurated the two courses, "national leadership and strategic planning" and "Aborigine administration", yesterday while 80 trainees gathered at the opening ceremony.

Students of the two classes jointly started their first course yesterday afternoon when former president Lee Teng-hui (李登輝) lectured on his personal experience of governing.

Lee said a national leader must be a flexible thinker while he should also be consistent in the direction and the ideals of his administration.

"As a leader, he must develop the capability of analyzing crises and finding the right way to tackle challenges in realpolitik," Lee said.