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Taiwan President foresees improved economy (photo)
12/12/2002 10:23:00 AM

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Taipei, Dec. 8 (CNA) President Chen Shui-bian said Sunday that the government will focus on the economy and reform, since elections for mayors and city councilors in Taipei and Kaohsiung ended Saturday.

A spokesman for the ruling Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) said that Chen made the remarks in a meeting with DPP Secretary-General Chang Chun-hsiung to exchange views on the party's performance in the elections.

According to the spokesman, Chen made a three-point commentary during the meeting:

1. The DPP should make a thorough review and reflection over the results of the elections. In addition to reviewing the election strategy and campaign methods, the party should also listen to the voices of the people and step up efforts to explain the government's policies and reform concepts to the people;

2. As the ruling party, the DPP has responsibility to build a good future for the people of Taiwan. The immediate target of the government is to carry out the policies on economic development and reform. All comrades of the party should strive to make a better tomorrow for Taiwan and its people;

3. Facing the severe internal and external challenges, we are determined to compete with the great environment, mainland China, and the world. The 2004 presidential election is not an issue at present and there is no need for the party to comment on rumors about the competition and cooperation among the opposition parties.

Chang said that the DPP Central Committee will meet with officials from the party chapters in Taipei and Kaohsiung as well as grassroots cadres in charge of election affairs to exchange views regarding party affairs, election results, and the needs of the people.

During the elections, the DPP performed well in Kaohsiung. Incumbent Mayor Frank Hsieh was re-elected with 50 percent of the votes, while 14 of the party's 18 candidates were elected to the 44-member city council. The party replaced the KMT to become the largest party in the Kaohsiung City Council for the first time. The KMT won 12 seats.

Although the ruling party's Lee Ying-yuan failed to topple Taipei's incumbent Mayor Ma Ying-jeou, he still managed to garner 35.89 percent of the votes; Ma was re-elected with 64.11 percent of the votes.

The DPP government is facing problems regarding the reform of the credit unions of the farmers' and fishermen's associations. More than 100,000 farmers and fishermen from across the island attended a massive demonstration in Taipei on November 23 to protest the failure of the government to improve the economy in farming villages.

Two Cabinet ministers, Minister of Finance Lee Yung-san and Council of Agriculture Chairman Fan Chen-tsung, were sacked after the demonstration. In addition, Premier Yu Shyi-kun tendered his resignation three times, but was persuaded by the president to stay on.

A national agro-financial conference was held in Taipei on November 30 to discuss related problems, but still more government effort is required before concrete measures can be worked out.

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