Taiwan's scandal-ridden leader Chen Shui-bian is facing growing pressure to resign.
The People First Party (PFP) yesterday urged more people, especially youngsters, to take to the streets if Chen does not quit.
PFP caucus whip Lee Hung-chun cited media surveys as indicating that nearly 70 percent of Taiwan people wanted Chen to step down.
"The PFP will stage protests every weekend until Chen quits," Lee was quoted as saying.
His statement followed a mass rally organized by the PFP outside the "presidential office" in Taipei on Saturday to demand Chen, whose approval rating has sunk to new lows amid a swirl of corruption scandals, to step down.
More than 10,000 people joined the four-hour event at which both PFP Chairman James Soong and Kuomintang (KMT) Chairman Ma Ying-jeou demanded Chen's resignation. "Probe graft to the very end," said placards carried by the demonstrators.
Agitated protesters tossed water balloons at Chen's portrait in a demonstration of discontent over the authorities' slow response to scandals embroiling Chen's family and his Democratic Progressive Party (DPP).
Last week, Chen ceded some of his powers to "premier" Su Tseng-chang of the DPP in a bid to quell public dissatisfaction over the scandals, which involve Chen's son-in-law, several members of his inner circle and allegedly his wife.
Last Thursday, Chen's son-in-law, Chao Chien-ming, was detained on suspicion of insider trading of shares in a government-owned property company. Earlier Chen's wife, Wu Shu-chen, was accused of other financial wrongdoings.
If Chen failed to respond to public demands the PFP had to call for his removal, Soong told the crowd. He added that if Chen's DPP remained deaf to the calls it must take responsibility for covering up for him. Chen had to step down before the full extent of the scandals could be revealed, Taiwan media quoted Soong as saying.
Ma appeared at the assembly unexpectedly after the first plenary meeting of the 17th KMT convention and said that party members had reached a consensus that they would ask Chen to step down through whichever method would prove most efficient.
Ma told protesters that Chen had claimed he would "clarify himself," "conduct reformation" and "cede powers" but remained silent on whether he and his family were involved in the scandals.
His silence indicated that he had no remorse for what he had done, which was unacceptable to the public, Ma was quoted as saying.
The KMT leader said he supported the idea of asking Chen to step down, either through a direct motion to recall the "president" or a "cabinet" resignation.
"The people have lost faith and trust" in Chen, Ma said. "Only by (Chen's) stepping down can the truth behind the scandals be revealed."
Ma said Chen's decision to relinquish party responsibilities and let "cabinet" members make their own policy choices was a ploy to divert the public's attention from his family's "involvement in the scandals."
Chen's chief of staff yesterday rejected the calls for his ousting, saying he had done nothing wrong.
(China Daily June 5, 2006)