A group of prominent academic supporters of Taiwan's ruling Democratic
Progressive Party (DPP) are urging "president" Chen Shui-bian to resign over
several high-profile corruption scandals, Taiwan media reported on Friday.
The appeal by several dozen scholars from the island's top-ranked academic
institutions is the clearest indication yet that Chen is losing support among
his once impregnable DPP base.
The scholars are not part of Taiwan's political establishment, but their call
will likely erode backing for Chen among DPP lawmakers, who fear the atmosphere
of scandal embroiling Chen's family and his close aides could cost them dearly
in the 2007 "legislative" elections.
The "Central News Agency" reported that these pro-DPP scholars have already
signed an appeal for Chen's resignation.
It quoted Fan Yun of Taiwan University as saying that the scholars will
officially make the call at a news conference on Saturday.
"I do not want to go into details about our appeal now, but I can definitely
confirm that it will be made," she reportedly said.
DPP "lawmaker" Huang Wei-cher said the scholars' appeal has great
significance because of their longtime identification with the party, which won
Taiwan's "presidency" for the first time in 2000, following 50 years of control
by the Kuomintang.
Describing Chen's situation, Huang used Taiwan's political shorthand,
referring to "blue" opposition supporters, "light green" moderate DPP adherents,
and "deep green."
"When blue supporters protest, the 'president' can shut his eyes," Huang
said. "When light greens speak out, he can ignore them. But when deep green
scholars get into the fray, he has to take them seriously."
Over the past several months, Chen has been reeling over allegations that his
family and close associates have used their proximity to the "presidential
office" for personal gain.
Chen's son-in-law, Chao Chien-ming, was indicted Monday on charges of insider
trading, following a lengthy investigation.
China Daily - Agencies