05/26/2006, 00.00
TAIWAN
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Calls for Chen's resignation follow relative's arrest

Even members of his party, the DPP, have joined in calls for his resignation. The president's son-in-law has been accused of insider trading.

Taipei (AsiaNews/Agencies) – The son-in-law of the president of Taiwan, Chen Shui-bian, has been arrested. This has led to fresh calls for the president's resignation. The Opposition wants the DPP, the Progressive Party in government, to expel Chen from the party. DPP members have limited themselves to calling on the president to resign before his term runs out in 2008.

Chao Chien-ming, doctor and husband of Chen's daughter, was arrested yesterday, after more than 15 hours of interrogation, on charges of insider trading. Television footage showed the doctor handcuffed as he was escorted to a detention house outside Taipei.

Dr Chao was accused by an Opposition MP, Chiu Yi, of buying 20 million shares in an enterprise under his mother's name, after learning the stock was likely to increase in value. Chiu claimed the president's son-in-law had been informed that Taiwan Development, a company with serious financial problems, was about to receive funding of four billion dollars. Chao has declared he is innocent, but if found guilty, he risks up to 10 years in prison.  

"In the face of the 2008 presidential election, the DPP must move its timetable ahead to elect the presidential candidate, so that power can be transferred earlier," said DPP legislator Kuo Cheng-liang, who is very close to Chen. Kuo said the four "papabile" MPs for the post of president should collaborate to reach this end, adding that Chen should stop taking too many decisions in a unilateral manner.

DPP legislator Lin Cho-shui also said Chen must abandon his "one-man leadership" policy. The calls came amid a wave of criticism from the opposition Kuomintang.

Chen has not commented about the arrest, but he has said that he will not cover any crimes committed by members of his family. In Taiwan, many people accuse Chen of closing an eye to what has been described as "rampant corruption" on the island.

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