Wed, Nov 17, 1999 - Page 1 News List

KMT set to purge Soong and allies

PARTY WRATH After Lee Teng-hui's bitter attack on James Soong on Monday, Soong's expulsion was a foregone conclusion, but the KMT has widened the punishment to include several key Soong associates

By Lauren Chen  /  STAFF REPORTER

Taking their cue from President and KMT chairman Lee Teng-hui's (李登輝) attack against KMT maverick presidential candidate James Soong (宋楚瑜) at Monday's extraordinary session of the party's Central Standing Committee, the party's Evaluation and Discipline Committee recommended yesterday that the former provincial governor be expelled from the party.

KMT heavyweights yesterday also successively stepped into the fray by heaping criticism on Soong, deciding not only to enlarge the scope of punishment to include members of Soong's staff, but also blasting his ambitions as being like that of "Hitler."

The KMT's Evaluation and Discipline Committee yesterday convened a special meeting to finalize the final terms and procedures for Soong's expulsion, which had been expected for months but which had been delayed after the 921 earthquake. Under instructions from KMT Secretary-General John Chang (31孝嚴) -- scheduled to take over as the Presidential Office secretary-general tomorrow -- the KMT also decided to expand the scope of the KMT's displeasure.

"I was asked by ... Chang to work overtime as of early yesterday morning, in an effort to expand the scope of punishment,'' said Chien Wei-chang (?維31),the chairman of the Evaluation and Discipline Committee.

In the light of the evidence pointing to Soong's decision to act against party wishes, Chien said, apart from Soong's expulsion, the KMT was determined to rescind the memberships of Soong's close associates in the party.

The `black list' includes former vice provincial governor Wu Jung-ming (吳容明), former provincial secretary-general Tsai Chung-hsiung (1/22鐘雄), former deputy provincial secretary-general Ma Jan-min (馬3ワ?/CHINESE>), former provincial director of social affairs department Tang Chi-ming (-啟明), former provincial government spokesman Chin Jin-sheng (?金生), and former provincial chairman of economic planning and reconstruction Hsia-Long (夏龍).

Expulsion, unlike rescinding party membership, has to be passed by the party's central standing committee, and a return to the party has to wait two years. Rescinding membership, on the other hand, involves only informing the KMT chairman, and a wait of one year before a reinstatement of membership is possible.

"Soong used to say that as a member of the party, he had no choice but to follow its resolu-tions. However, now that the KMT has [already] made its resolution to choose vice president and KMT Vice Chairman Lien Chan (3s戰) to run with Premier Vincent Siew (蕭萬長), ironically, Soong appears to have forgotten what he had once said,'' said Chien.

"Under article 46, clause 1 of the party charter, Soong violated the party's [nomination] resolu-tion, and the members of the evaluation and disciplinary committee have unanimously agreed to expel Soong from the KMT.''

Reacting to the decision, Soong yesterday expressed deep sorrow over the party's resolution to dismiss him and to repeal his close staff members, attacking the motion as being "disconnected with grass-roots opinion."

"The expulsion came as a result of manipulation by a few high-ranking officials. The KMT has already broken away from the voice of the public,'' he said.

"I love my party. Even though KMT has determined to expel me, I have no plan to form any new party to cope with the situation.''

Chien also confirmed that the punishment against Soong's camp would be continued, but that the committee had no timetable for fulfilling that assignment.

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