PRESIDENT: CONSTITUTIONAL AMENDMENTS SET STAGE FOR FURTHER REFORM
Central News Agency
Taipei, June 7 (CNA) The just-passed constitutional amendments have set the stage for another and more radical phase of constitutional reform, President Chen Shui-bian said Tuesday.
In a dinner party hosted by the president for National Assembly members of his Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) , Chen said his administration takes heart from the success of the first phase of constitutional reforms that ended with the passage of five amendments Tuesday, and vowed to speed up the next phase of reforms with the purpose of giving the country a constitution tailored to its needs.
When his term expires in 2008, Chen said, he hopes a constitution suitable for the country will be in place along with a new president, new administration, a new legislature and a new era.
Chen said the first constitutional reforms, especially the abolition of the National Assembly, has destroyed the myth that the the Constitution, as well as the five-branch government provided for therein, is a vital and untouchable part of the country's legacy.
By doing away with this myth, Chen said, the National Assembly has removed a political taboo against revamping the Constitution thoroughly, and has prepared the public for more radical changes to the Constitution, Chen claimed. "It has convinced people that the Constitution should serve their interests rather than maintain a fictitious legacy," he said.
Furthermore, he went on, the amendments also give people the final say in future constitutional amendments through referendum and thereby make them the real masters of the country, which is unprecedented in the country's history.
He thanked the opposition Kuomintang for its support for the amendments and promised to give the country a more active leadership in the second phase of constitutional reforms.
The president's exuberance was shared by his guests at the dinner party, with Vice President Annette Lu admiring him as "the engineer of constitutional reform" and Chen's chief of staff Yu Shyi-kun saying the passage of the amendments is a success for the DPP and the Taiwan people.
DPP Chairman Su Tseng-chang said at the party that Taiwan's democracy takes a big jump forward with the passage of the amendments and will be even better when the president finishes his second phase of constitutional reforms in 2007.
(By Maubo Chang)
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