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Ma repeats vow KMT won't abuse legislative power




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Monday, January 14, 2008
By Dimitri Bruyas, The China Post


Opposition Kuomintang (KMT) presidential candidate Ma Ying-jeou dismissed media speculations yesterday about his party's plan when the new legislative assembly convenes next February.

The KMT won't "abuse its legislative powers," even though it has become the dominant party in the seventh elected legislature, he said.

On the contrary, the KMT will ask all its legislators to exercise their power "prudently and responsibly" in order to make a "good, brand new impression on the public," he added.

Ma stressed that his party has no plans to initiate another motion to recall President Chen Shui-bian, reform the constitution or immediately ask to form the government.

"We have no plans to depose the president," he added, as he noted that it would be counterproductive.

He explained that Saturday's election was the last step in a constitutional reform process that started three years ago. Given that legislators haven't taken their oath yet, we need some time to evaluate how the new system works before amending the constitution again, he said.

"I have never heard about this," he replied to reporters' inquiries on the KMT alleged plan to form the government.

The KMT won an overwhelming majority of 81 seats in the 113-seat legislature in Saturday's legislative elections, compared to only 27 seats for the ruling Democratic Progressive Party.

Touching on the March 22 presidential election, Ma said that as his party's presidential candidate, he will go all-out for victory to create a prosperous age for the people of Taiwan.

"If the KMT can become the ruling party again, it will be the beginning of a new era, not the resumption of past practices," he said, hinting at his victory in the presidential election slated for March 22.

Ma Ying-jeou made the remarks during a meeting with reporters after participating in a seminar held that morning on "President Chiang Ching-kuo and Taiwan's democratic development."

The seminar was organized by various KMT-affiliated associations to mark the 20th anniversary of the late president's death. It was attended by former officials and KMT party members.

Ma himself worked as one of President Chiang Ching-kuo's translators from 1981 to 1988.

He quoted a poll published last December by the mass-circulated United Daily News, as he explained that more than half of respondents said Chiang Ching-kuo made positive contributions to Taiwan.

The survey, which asked people which president has contributed most to Taiwan, gave President Chiang Ching-kuo a 50 percent approval rating, followed by Lee Teng-hui with 11 percent. President Chiang Kai-shek and President Chen Shui-bian received 6 percent and 5 percent approval, respectively, of the respondents.

Ma noted that Chiang's economic policies have had a deep impact on Taiwan's successful economic development and peaceful democratic transition since the 1970s.

He looked up to Chiang Ching-kuo, and said that great power comes with great responsibility, following his party's landslide victory in Saturday's legislative poll.

For instance, Chiang Ching-kuo invested in petrochemical and transportation infrastructures as soon as he became premier in the early 1970s.

When the first oil crisis hit Taiwan in 1973, he then launched the "Ten Grand Projects" program aiming at taking advantage of the crisis to prepare the country with a post-recovery program.

Because of U.S. government backing, Taiwan was able to secure foreign loans to develop its economy and rein in the soaring inflation.

During the second oil crisis of 1979, Taiwan's government was thus able to manage successfully the soaring prices of crude oil on the international market.

After the seminar, Ma Ying-jeou paid his respects to the late president at his mausoleum in Touliao, Taoyuan, which was temporary opened for the occasion.



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