Wed, Apr 18, 2001 - Page 1 News List

Lien rails at talk of a KMT schism

By Lin Chieh-yu  /  STAFF REPORTER

With many native Taiwanese lawmakers reportedly threatening to leave the KMT, Lien Chan (連戰) lashed out yesterday at the alleged backer of an attempt to split the party, calling it an attempt "to rape democracy."

"The use of money and power to rape democracy is beneath contempt. For those who have this ability, they should take their money and use it to save the economy and those who are starving and children who can't afford three meals a day. Fifty million [NT dollars] could save a lot of people," Lien said.

DPP lawmakers said that former interior minister Huang Chu-wen (黃主文) is organizing the split with the support of Evergreen tycoon Chang Yung-fa (張榮發). Chang is rumored to have provided financial support to politicians who still follow Lee Teng-hui's (李登輝) principles.

The Evergreen Group last night issued a press release denying that Chang had ever provided money to any lawmaker to organize a new political group.

According to the Chinese-language media, more than 20 KMT legislators who share the political views of former president Lee Teng-hui may leave the party soon and establish a new one.

Senior KMT lawmaker Chen Chien-chih (陳健治) said yesterday afternoon that KMT leaders are already aware of the situation and are trying to persuade them to stay.

Lee stepped down as party chairman last year after being blamed for the KMT's defeat in the presidential election. Since then, the party has turned away from Lee's "Taiwan first" path and more openly advocated unification with China. Reports have also listed several KMT lawmakers, including Lin Jih-jia (林志嘉) and Chen Ming-wen (陳明文), as possible members of the new group. Lin has been working to win the KMT's nomination for Taipei County commissioner, while Chen is jockeying for that of Chiayi County commissioner.

Others on the exodus list include Chen Horng-chi (陳鴻基), Huang Chao-shun (黃昭順), Lin Chien-jung (林建榮), Lin Pin-kuan (林炳坤), Chiu Ching-chun (邱鏡淳), and Liu Cheng-hung (劉政鴻).

The schism, which some expect may occur in June or July, would be the third major split in the KMT after those that created the New Party and the People First Party. The new group could become a power to be reckoned with in the legislature, given that as many as 30 political figures, including newcomers from outside the KMT, may join it. The group may also become a "stabilizing force" in the Legislative Yuan by cooperating with the DPP, the report said. The report also said that more than 10 KMT politicians may leave the KMT to join the PFP.

Speaking on the condition of anonymity, a senior adviser to the National Security Council told the Taipei Times that close aides to President Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁) had discussed the issue and predicted that the KMT would certainly split but not until after the legislative election. "No political party will control a majority in the Legislative Yuan after the election, and we believe that KMT leaders will lose control over party lawmakers," the senior adviser said.

The KMT's legislative majority is the main reason why the party headquarters can still maintain tight control over its lawmakers, the adviser said.

He also said that the KMT now faced a major problem creating a firm, clear consensus on the party's future direction. The KMT has a wide range of politicians who sometimes hold diametrically opposite positions, but Lien is still taking an ambiguous stance, the adviser said.

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