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Last Updated: Tuesday, 14 December, 2004, 07:22 GMT
Taiwan's Chen quits party post
Chen Shui-bian (11/12/04)
Mr Chen will have to govern without a majority in parliament
Taiwan's President Chen Shui-bian has resigned as chairman of his Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) to take responsibility for an election setback.

The DPP and its ally failed to win a majority in Saturday's parliamentary elections, threatening to undermine Mr Chen's second term in office.

His resignation from the party post may signal a new effort to build consensus.

"From now on, A-bian will be a president for all the people," Mr Chen said, referring to his nickname.

"A-bian here wants to voice my deep apology to the country's supporters. In order to take full responsibility, I have tendered my resignation to the party's central standing committee," he said.

Nationalists or Kuomintang (KMT) supporters

The DPP and its political ally - the Taiwan Solidarity Union - won 101 of the 225 seats in Taiwan's legislative Yuan, while the Kuomintang-led opposition won 114.

Analysts said that the increasingly confrontational tone of Taiwanese politics may have persuaded voters to limit the president's powers by renewing the opposition's control over parliament.

The result raised the prospect of four more years of political gridlock, with Mr Chen's more ambitious proposals facing a parliamentary block.

By downplaying his links with the DPP, of which he has been chairman since 2002, Mr Chen may be able to distance himself from its more radical fringe, which wants speedy and formal independence from China.

China views Taiwan as part of its territory, and has threatened to use force if the island declares independence.

A BBC correspondent in China, Francis Markus, says there is no doubt that China is relieved after Mr Chen's election setback.

Yet from the reactions in state-run newspapers, Beijing clearly believes this is not the moment to show it, our correspondent says.

On Monday, the China Daily newspaper quoted mainland academics as saying the result was a major setback, rather than a decisive blow.

It said the key point was whether the Taiwanese leader would stop his pro-independence push, or forge ahead with what it called his "separatist timetable".

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11 Dec 04 |  Asia-Pacific
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19 May 04 |  Asia-Pacific
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Country profile: Taiwan
10 Aug 04 |  Country profiles


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