Wed, Feb 02, 2005 - Page 8 News List

Editorial: Wang's win will do for now

Legislative Speaker Wang Jin-pyng (王金平), a Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) vice chairman, has been re- elected for a third term, while People First Party (PFP) Legislator Chung Jung-chi (鍾榮吉) was elected vice speaker. This unsurprising result suggests that the legislative alliance between the KMT and PFP will continue for the time being, although possibly in a much less cohesive manner.

The election was a foregone conclusion with the return of PFP Chairman James Soong (宋楚瑜) on Saturday. Whatever chance Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Legislator Ker Chien-ming (柯建銘) had of succeeding Wang was dashed by Soong's return. Although Ker, who will be a three-term lawmaker in the next session, is popular with his peers and colleagues, it was never enough to beat the pan-blue camp's majority.

Due to the friction between the parties, however, it cannot be denied that some PFP lawmakers had been tempted by the DPP's invitations to cooperate. As long as Soong remained overseas, the chances of convincing them to work with the DPP were much greater.

Soong would not have returned home unless he was prepared to work with the KMT -- at least for the speaker and vice speaker poll. Otherwise, he would have stayed in the US. Despite displaying a cold attitude toward Wang and Taipei Mayor Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九), Soong knew he had very little choice but to return, given the high level of pressure from PFP supporters who are on the opposite end of the political and ideological spectrum from the DPP. This of course also raises the question of whether it is foolish for the DPP to hope that it can woo PFP supporters at all.

On the other hand, it is obvious that the DPP did not put up a good fight in this election. The withdrawal of DPP Secretary-General Chang Chun-hsiung (張俊雄) from the race was itself suggestive of a passive approach adopted by the DPP, not to mention the fact that Ker was not even formally elected by the party to run until last Friday. Most important of all, President Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁) and those at the DPP's core stayed relatively quiet throughout the entire process. No active efforts were made to lure pan-blue votes.

The DPP's decision was apparently made to help further Chen's efforts to push for reconciliation with the pan-blue camp. Any success the DPP might have had in luring KMT or PFP lawmakers would have only increased the hostility of the pan-blue camp in general, especially the KMT. That would in turn have harmed the chances of future cooperation within the legislature.

Finally, Wang's political strengths were also crucial in his re-election. He is just about the only person who enjoys widespread support from lawmakers and politicians across the political spectrum. While some pan-green members are not too happy with his continued support for KMT Chairman Lien Chan (連戰) after last year's presidential election, Wang remains -- for all intents and purposes -- the last hope of "nativization" for the KMT.

If Wang lost the speakership, the possibility of his succeeding the leadership of the KMT could have been jeopardized. In the long run, that would not have been good for anyone.

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