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KMT Chairman to Call for Chen Exit
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Taiwan's opposition Kuomintang (KMT) Chairman Ma Ying-jeou said yesterday he will issue an open letter on Saturday requesting that the Taiwan leader Chen Shui-bian to step down for alleged corruption.

Ma's letter will coincide with the start of a protest headed by Shih Ming-teh, former chairman of Chen's ruling Democratic Progressive Party (DPP), to oust the scandal-tainted leader, according to Taiwan media reports.

His open letter will be advertised in major newspapers of Taiwan on Saturday, the reports said.

At a meeting in Taipei, Ma said he will personally support the campaign launched by Shih to ensure the DPP doesn't divert public attention from the anti-corruption drive.

Ma, also mayor of Taipei, told reporters that a leader should not be allowed to stay in power when corruption allegations are that serious. He stressed that he will call on DPP Chairman Yu Shyi-kun and "Premier" Su Tseng-chang to state clearly their stances on the issue.

Both Yu and Su as well as the DPP oppose the anti-Chen campaign.

Ma, who had been widely criticized for his apparently indifferent attitude to the anti-Chen bid, said he will go to the protest site on Saturday to show his support.

His high-profile decision comes just days before Shih starts the indefinite round-the-clock sit-in protest on Saturday in front of Chen's offices.

Shih has secured the endorsement of more than one million people for his "anti-graft, anti-greed" campaign.

Chen has pledged to stay in office.

"Different political ideas should be solved through the constitutional system and any corruption allegations through judicial investigation," he said in a speech on Sunday before departing for Palau.

"Any violation of the law, any attempt to make trouble or any attempt to challenge the government's authority will not be allowed."

In June, Chen survived an unprecedented recall motion launched by the KMT and People First Party. His troubles began in May after his son-in-law Chao Chien-ming was detained on suspicion of insider trading and bribe-taking.

(China Daily September 5, 2006)



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