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Last Updated: Wednesday, 8 November 2006, 12:11 GMT
Taiwan's Chen wins party backing
Protesters raise placards that read 'A Bian (President Chen Shui-bian) step down'
Protesters have called for Mr Chen's resignation
Taiwan's ruling party has said it fully backs President Chen Shui-bian, despite corruption allegations against him.

More than 100 senior members of the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) met to discuss the allegations, its worst crisis since its founding 20 years ago.

Senior officials said they accepted Mr Chen's explanations and would oppose opposition attempts to oust him.

Government prosecutors said last week that they had enough evidence to charge the president with corruption.

Wednesday's meeting was the DPP's first since President Chen gave a speech on Sunday, in which he proclaimed his innocence against the allegations being levelled against him.

He strongly denied personally pocketing any money and blamed poorly-defined and conflicting regulations surrounding the use of a special state affairs fund.

Mr Chen cannot be prosecuted while in office as he is protected by presidential immunity, but his wife and three ex-aides have been charged over the alleged misuse of nearly $500,000 of state funds.

Recall motion

Following a three-hour meeting, party chairman Yu Shyi-kun said the DPP would not take disciplinary action against the president since he had promised to step down if his wife is found guilty of wrongdoing.

SCANDAL TIMELINE
March 2004: President Chen narrowly wins re-election
May 2006: President's son-in-law held over insider trading claims. Charged in July
Allegations of improper conduct involving Chen's wife and senior aides also surface
June: Chen cedes some powers to PM amid outcry
Unprecedented opposition motion to oust him, which fails
September: Two weeks of pro and anti-Chen marches
Opposition launch new bid to recall Chen. Again fails
October: Wu Shu-chen cleared of accepting shop vouchers in return for influence
November: Wu Shu-chen charged with corruption over handling of secret presidential funds
Prosecutors say enough evidence to indict Chen, but he is protected by presidential immunity

"Because of the president's promise, there is no need for the party to take measures against him," Mr Yu told reporters.

The party said it will also oppose a third attempt by the opposition to recall the president, in a motion to be formally proposed by the main opposition Kuomintang party in parliament on Friday.

The decision suggests there is now no chance of the motion being passed and triggering a national referendum on the issue, the BBC's Caroline Gluck in Taipei says.

Although the opposition parties have a small majority in parliament, they needed at least 14 ruling party members to back the motion in order for it to succeed.

The last two attempts, in June and October, failed as all Mr Chen's DPP colleagues stood by him.

President Chen appears to have weathered the storm for the time being but the scandal has seriously damaged his image and that of his party, which was founded on the principles of clean government and an end to corruption, our correspondent says.


VIDEO AND AUDIO NEWS
Taiwan's leader strongly denies corruption allegations



SEE ALSO
New bid to oust Taiwan's leader
06 Nov 06 |  Asia-Pacific
Taiwan's Chen denies graft charge
05 Nov 06 |  Asia-Pacific
Taiwan protesters urge Chen to go
04 Nov 06 |  Asia-Pacific
Viewpoints: Taiwan graft scandal
03 Nov 06 |  Asia-Pacific
Profile: Chen Shui-bian
01 Jun 06 |  Asia-Pacific
Country profile: Taiwan
11 Aug 06 |  Country profiles



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