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Tsai invites opposition leaders to discuss constitutional reform

2017/10/10 15:38:53

President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文, center)

Taipei, Oct. 10 (CNA) In her National Day speech calling for unity, President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) on Tuesday invited political party leaders to exchange views on constitutional reform and other issues such as safeguarding the nation's democracy.

Tsai, also chairperson of the Democratic Progressive Party, recently demanded that the party consider amending the Constitution to lower the voting age to 18, add human rights clauses, and change how seats in the Legislative Yuan are apportioned.

She invited the leaders of other political parties to join in the discussion.

"To the representatives from all the political parties here today, I look forward to exchanging opinions on constitutional reform with you," Tsai said.

Present at the ceremony were Kuomintang Chairperson Wu Den-yih (吳敦義), People First Party Chairperson James Soong (宋楚瑜), New Power Party Chairperson Huang Kuo-chang (黃國昌), and Minkuotang Chairperson Hsu Hsin-ying (徐欣瑩).

Tsai said the issues she spoke about in the speech, including domestic reforms, safeguarding Taiwan's democracy and freedom, and finding a place for the country in the international community "all also require that Taiwan come together."

"I hereby formally invite the leaders of our political parties to meet to discuss issues of concern. As long as we are united, we can show the world the pride we take in our democracy, freedom, and prosperity," Tsai said.

Then KMT Chairperson Hung Hsiu-chu (洪秀柱) was absent from last year's National Day ceremony in protest of the Tsai administration's cross-strait policy and its attempt to recover assets the KMT gained when it took over Taiwan from Japan at the end of World War II.

Speaking of the presence of leaders of the four major opposition parties, Tsai said "we are able to gather here today" regardless of party affiliation or our political differences. "This is the meaning of National Day."

Tsai's speech was titled "Better Taiwan," also the theme for this year's celebration. "Having been entrusted by the people, I have taken on full responsibility for this. I will do everything I can to make Taiwan better," Tsai said.

Enumerating the areas in which progress has been made over the past year, Tsai said the administration will continue to work hard to fulfill its commitments and push reforms to provide a better life to the people.

Among those mentioned by Tsai were transforming Taiwan's economy and industrial structure, investing in infrastructure, reforming the tax code, expanding long-term care services, and reforming the pension and judicial systems.

Tsai also extended her gratitude to "a special Taiwanese," Brendan O'Connell (甘惠忠), an American Catholic priest recently granted citizenship of the Republic of China in recognition of his contributions to Taiwan.

"Father Kan Hui-chung led the singing of the national anthem today and has dedicated decades of his life serving Taiwan. After giving light and love to Taiwan, he has officially become an ROC citizen. On behalf of the people of Taiwan, thank you."

Tsai wished the 81-year-old priest great health and gave assurances that Taiwan will continue to embrace the world with open arms.

(By Shih Hsiu-chuan)