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Accepting finance minister's resignation reluctantly: premier
【Politics】2008-03-14  12:36:38
Taipei, March 14 (CNA) Premier Chang Chun-hsiung said Friday that his decision to approve the resignation of Minister of Finance Ho Chih-chin a day earlier was made "reluctantly."

Chang said he had on several occasions in the past rejected resignations tendered by Ho for various reasons but approved this one because he shared Ho's opinion that he had a responsibility in a recent clash that occurred at the campaign headquarters of ruling Democratic Progressive Party presidential candidate Frank Hsieh.

Chang made the remarks in response to a China Times report that the premier rebuked Ho immediately after the incident, prompting Ho to resign the next day.

Giving in to pressure from four opposition Kuomintang (KMT) lawmakers, Ho accompanied the lawmakers on a visit Wednesday to Hsieh's campaign headquarters, located in a building belonging to First Financial Holding in Taipei, in an attempt to investigate whether the building was rented illegally to Hsieh.

However, the lawmakers' uninvited intrusion into the building triggered strong displeasure among Hsieh's supporters, who considered the move provocative. Serious clashes broke out when the supporters tried to block the lawmakers from leaving the site under police escort.

Ho resigned the following day, expressing regret about the unpleasantness the incident has caused in society, partly because of his failure to resist the lawmakers' improper request.

Chang said it would benefit Taiwan's democracy and people if everyone were as responsible as Ho.

According to Chang, a political appointee must stick to principles instead of complying unconditionally with lawmakers' demands, an attitude that is especially important now that the KMT is taking advantage of its overwhelming majority in the Legislative Yuan "to throw its weight around."

In an apparent attempt to minimize the incident's negative impact on the KMT's presidential campaign, the KMT on Friday suspended for one year the party member rights of the four legislators responsible for the intrusion. (By Y.F. Low) ENDITEM/J

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