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'TRUTH COMMITTEE' MAY BE UNCONSTITUTIONAL: PRESIDENT

2004-04-12 22:17:34

    Taipei, April 12 (CNA) President Chen Shui-bian said Monday that the opposition camp's demand to set up what it calls a "truth committee" under the legislature to probe the March 19 shooting of the president might be unconstitutional and issued a reminder that Taiwan is a country ruled by law.

    Chen made the remarks during a meeting with some 130 student representatives from universities and colleges around the country.

    Stressing that the Constitution provides the nation with its basic legal framework, Chen said that no laws should go against the principles set up by the Constitution, including the special legislation demanded by various opposition parties to establish a committee under the Legislative Yuan to investigate the election-eve shooting.

    Granting investigative powers to the Legislative Yuan would undoubtedly infringe upon the constitutionally granted power of the Control Yuan -- the nation's highest watchdog body.

    Any disputes must be settled within the constitutional framework in a country ruled by law, he pointed out, adding that he is more eager to learn the truth behind the shooting than anyone else.

    Chen and Vice President Annette Lu were both shot while they were campaigning in southern Tainan City on the eve of the election.

    The Chen-Lu ticket defeated the opposition "pan-blue alliance" ticket of Kuomintang Chairman Lien Chan and People First Party Chairman James Soong by a very slim margin of fewer than 30,000 votes out of 13 million ballots cast, prompting Lien and Soong to complain that the election was unfair and that the shooting gained sympathy votes for Chen that led to his victory.

    Hundreds of thousands of "pan-blue alliance" supporters have staged continued mass rallies to protest the disputed election and demand a vote recount and the establishment of the "truth committee."

(By Flor Wang)

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