Tue, Dec 07, 1999 - Page 1 News List

KMT expels party unfaithful, again

PARTY DISCIPLINE Another 21 Soong supporters are about to get the boot, but the party is not worried about its legislative majority

By Oliver Lin  /  STAFF REPORTER

Seven pro-Soong KMT legislators are all smiles after hearing the news about their being expelled from the party.

PHOTO: GEORGE TSORNG, TAIPEI TIMES

The KMT's disciplinary arm has again struck out at independent presidential candidate James Soong's (宋楚瑜) camp, recommending the expulsion of 21 of the maverick candidate's supporters from party ranks.

Those named included seven legislators, two county and city council speakers and two National Assembly deputies.

The KMT's central standing committee is expected to pass the evaluation and disciplinary committee's recommendations in its weekly meeting Wednesday.

The action comes less than a month after the committee voted to expel Soong from the party, while suspending the memberships of six others.

Once the disciplinary action is approved, the KMT's legislative caucus membership will be reduced to 118 from 125 in a 225-seat house. Another lawmaker would be returning to the caucus, though, as Lin Chih-chia (林志嘉) is set to have his party membership reinstated Wednesday.

While 119 may look a thin majority, the KMT does not appear to be worried. Chien Wei-chang (簡維章), chairman of the discipline committee, explained why.

"If we have to worry that much, there is virtually nothing we can do," he said.

Legislative Yuan Speaker Wang Jin-pyng (王金平) was more succinct, pointing out that the party retains broad support among independent lawmakers. So the expulsion, he said, should not significantly affect the party's "legislative ecology."

DPP caucus leader Chen Chi-mai (陳其邁) concurred.

"In any case," Chen said, "voting behavior on the floor by those KMT lawmakers supporting Soong has never been as much of a group. Sometimes they even vote against each other. That's why their expulsion won't make much difference to the KMT."

The lawmakers who have been put up for expulsion are Liu Wen-hsiung (劉文雄), Roy Chou (周錫瑋), Cheng Chin-ling (鄭金玲), Shen Chih-hui (沈智慧), Hsieh Chang-chieh (謝章捷), Chen Chao-jun (陳朝容), and Chung Shao-ho (鍾紹和).

All seven said yesterday they would continue supporting Soong in his bid for the presidency.

"The disciplinary action has had no effect on us, as we are thinking only about how to help Soong," Liu said at a press conference yesterday.

"We will take all the suppression from the KMT, and continue on our road to reform," Chou said.

When asked why they had not pre-empted their expulsion by quitting the party, the legislators sounded unanimous in declaring that it was not that they did not care for the party, but that the party was controlled by a "small bunch of people."

The real message being sent out by the party's upper hierarchy seems to be directed at those who are still wavering in openly declaring their support for Soong.

"We hope those who are still hesitating will refrain from supporting Soong," said Chien.

Political analysts agreed that it was clear why the action had been taken.

"It will serve as a warning to those who are still wavering, because if they are kicked out of the party, they will have to face a much more uncertain political future," said Lin Chia-lung (林佳龍), a political analyst at National Chungcheng University in Chiayi.

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