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President Chen Presides over the First Meeting of the Government Reform Committee

Taipei, Oct. 25 (CNA) President Chen Shui-bian vowed Thursday to continue with his government reforms by first of all cutting the number of agencies under the Executive Yuan by one-third over a two-year period.

Presiding over the first meeting of the government reform committee, Chen said in the same breath that the incumbent government employee's interests will be fully protected under the government's streamlining program.

At the same time, the government will revamp regulations on recruiting new staff to ensure that the administration will get first-class talent into the government in order to offer the public first class service.

However, the president went on, government reform cannot succeed without amending the country's Constitution, which lays down the mandates of the president and the administration led by the premier, as well as the powers and liabilities of the Executive Yuan and the legislature.

Noting that the vague ties between the popular president and the legislature under the existing Constitution underlies many disputes between the Democratic Progressive Party-led government and the opposition-controlled legislature, Chen said a revision of the Constitution is necessary to rid the country of its political unrest.

A clear division of political powers and financial resources between the central government and the local governments is also vital to ensure the success of the government reforms.

He urged the committee to build a public consensus on these issues as a first step toward ensuring that the proposed government reforms, if not the last, are the most successful.

The government reform committee was formed in line with the conclusions drawn by the National Economic Development Conference, which call for the streamlining of the government structure to promote government efficiency.

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