Tue, Feb 13, 2001 - Page 8 News List

Strange bedfellows no real surprise

By Chin Heng-wei 金恆煒

The KMT recently held a press conference to announce its decision not to pursue an indictment against James Soong (宋楚瑜) for embezzlement. This decision was not surprising, given that the KMT's former legal representative in the case, Chuang Po-lin (莊柏林), had petitioned on his own for a reconsideration of the decision not to indict. Another member of the legal team, Chuang Sheng-jung (莊勝榮), had indicated earlier that if the party decided to quit, the team would gather new evidence on its own and file a new lawsuit against Soong with the Taipei District Court Prosecutor's Office. So members of the legal team had already revealed the KMT's decision.

Is the Soong case now ended because the KMT wants to wash it hands of it? Not necessarily. The spokesperson for the KMT legal team, Chang Nai-liang (張迺良), had already released a joint declaration on the team's stance. This declaration will inevitably become an important document, taking its toll as political developments unfold. Besides, the president of a private, non-profit organization, the Judicial Reform Foundation, has filed complaints with the Control Yuan, alleging strong evidence for gross breach of duty by the prosecutor in the case. The Control Yuan has already accepted the complaint. The curtain has not therefore fallen because of the KMT's decision to keep its distance. The case has simply changed hands. We await future developments.

Interestingly, the reason cited by the KMT for not pursuing an indictment was that its members thought that if they continued to dwell on disputes surrounding the case, the KMT would forever remain trapped in the past. This argument is, of course, politically motivated and has nothing whatsoever to do with the truth. The true message is that KMT Chairman Lien Chan (連戰) had opened the door of friendship for Soong. What immediately comes to mind is the connection between the decision and the two parties cooperating in the year-end elections.

The People's First Party and the KMT have been the fiercest of rivals so far. So the explanation of an alliance is not that realistic. A more plausible explanation is that Lien is trying to warm up to KMT members close to Soong for next month's direct election of KMT chairman. The number of KMT members who have re-registered their membership is said to be close to 1 million. How many belong to the Lien camp, to Soong's? The KMT knows only too well. No wonder Lien did not dare to pursue Soong's indictment.

Chin Heng-wei is editor in chief of Contemporary Monthly magazine.

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