Chen urged to resign amid scandal
Updated: 2006-11-05 15:16
TAIPEI -- Protesters gathered Sunday for a march in Taipei to demand the
resignation of "president" Chen Shui-bian, whose wife has been indicted in a
corruption scandal that prosecutors say could also involve Chen.
demonstrators got ready, Chen was drafting a public address that he hoped would
deflate the political crisis threatening to swallow his administration.
Local media said Chen would speak Sunday night, but the "presidential
office" wouldn't confirm the reports.
A protester holds a local newspaper
with photos of Chen Shui-bian and his wife after prosecutors said they
have enough evidence to indict Chen's wife on corruption charges
November 3, 2006, in Taipei. [AP]
Chen and his family have been
dogged by graft allegations for months, but the scandal blew up on Friday when
prosecutors indicted Chen's wife Wu Shu-chen on embezzlement, forgery and
Wu was accused of taking 14.8 million New Taiwan dollars
(US$450,000; euro350,000) from a special diplomacy fund in 2002-06, prosecutors
Receipts did not account for the missing money, they said.
The prosecutors also said there was evidence Chen was involved, but as
the leader of Taiwan, Chen is immune to such charges while in
Early Sunday, "premier" Su Tseng-chang held an emergency meeting
with his cabinet to discuss the corruption scandal's possible repercussions on
financial markets and social order, said government spokesman Cheng Wen-tsang.
"Taiwan is a mature democratic society, and we are not worried about
keeping ... order," Cheng said.
Cheng also dismissed newspaper reports
that Su would resign if Chen's public address fails to convince Taiwanese of his
On Saturday, about 6,000 anti-Chen protesters marched in
Kaohsiung, the island's second-biggest city. The rally was sponsored by the main
opposition Nationalist party, which planned to organize Sunday's event in
The Kaohsiung protesters carried massive red balloons that read,
"Oppose Corruption, Save Taiwan."
Opposition leaders planned to take
their campaign to the legislature, where they were prepared to start the
"presidential" recall process on Monday. They made a similar attempt in June and
again in October, but failed to muster the required two-thirds majority.
But the opposition is hoping that ruling party lawmakers will begin
defecting to their cause and give them enough votes to pass the recall measure,
which would set up an island-wide referendum to determine Chen's
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