Fri, Aug 17, 2001 - Page 1 News List

Soong seeks to patch up the alliance

FINAL ATTEMPT PFP Chairman James Soong says that he plans to visit his KMT counterpart in a last-ditch effort to preserve cooperation between the opposition parties

By Stephanie Low  /  STAFF REPORTER

In a last-ditch effort to make cooperation between the People First Party and KMT work, PFP Chairman James Soong (宋楚瑜) plans to meet his KMT counterpart, Lien Chan (連戰), in the coming days.

"It's obvious from the lack of any substantial results that this can't drag on much longer," Soong said yesterday.

The two parties have been planning to field joint candidates in year-end county commissioners' races, but so far have failed to agree on potential contenders.

Much of the problem stems from local-level opposition to the alliance from members of each party.

Soong said that during the planned meeting -- which he described as a "final attempt" -- the two leaders would decide whether cooperation efforts for the year-end elections will continue or end.

"If there is a fair and reasonable method [for selecting candidates] to bypass some problems at the local level, the PFP is willing to work harder to have both sides come to an agreement," Soong said.

Soong said that the parties could conduct opinion polls or any other agreed-upon method to select joint candidates.

Soong's proposal came hours after David Chung (鍾榮吉), the PFP's secretary-general, said he would give up his role as the party's negotiator with the KMT over the lack of progress in the cooperation plans.

Accusing the KMT of being insincere in cooperating with the PFP, Chung said some KMT officials were blocking the cooperation agreement reached between Soong and Lien.

"Though my chairman has never blamed me," Chung said, "he has continually said at public occasions that the KMT never shows any sincerity in the area of cooperation."

The two parties have been negotiating for almost five months on cooperating in commissioners' races in the counties of Taipei, Taoyuan, Taitung, Tainan, Kaohsiung and Penghu.

According to an initial agreement between the parties, the KMT was to support the PFP's candidates for commissioner in Taipei, Kaohsiung and Taitung, where the PFP enjoys broad public support. The PFP was to reciprocate in the remaining three counties.

But politicians at the local level have objected to the arrangements because it denies them the chance to run for public office.

The PFP is especially unhappy with the fact that none of the PFP candidates have yet won the KMT's backing.

In Taitung County, the KMT in July gave the go-ahead to Wu Chun-li (吳俊立), speaker of the Taitung County Council, to vie for the commissioner's job. This, despite the fact that the PFP had already nominated Legislator Hsu Ching-yuan (徐慶元).

In Kaohsiung County, KMT Legislator Wu Kuang-hsun (吳光訓) is insisting on running against the PFP's Chung Shao-ho (鍾紹和) for the top job.

In Taipei County, the PFP nominated its deputy secretary-general, Chin Chin-sheng (秦金生), for the commissioner's job while the KMT nominated Legislator Lin Jih-jia (林志嘉).

In the past week, several PFP officials have expressed their dissatisfaction with the KMT over the lack of progress on the cooperation plans.

On Wednesday, PFP Vice Chairman Chang Chao-hsiung (張昭雄) said that KMT members with close ties to former president and KMT chairman Lee Teng-hui (李登輝) were obstructing the efforts.

Lee is widely believed to oppose the KMT's decision to ally with the PFP.Also See Editorial Inside

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