Tue, Apr 13, 2004 - Page 1 News List

KMT lawmakers demand Lien's head

FED UP Pro-Taiwan legislators said the party chairman should take responsibility for losing the election and allow some new leaders to make some real decisions

By Ko Shu-ling  /  STAFF REPORTER

Calls to unseat Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) Chairman Lien Chan (連戰) surfaced yesterday as pro-Taiwan KMT lawmakers expressed the wish to see Lien step down to shoulder responsibility for losing the presidential election.

KMT lawmakers also agreed to team up with their People First Party (PFP) counterparts to establish a nomination strategy for the year-end legislative elections in a bid to win a majority of legislative seats.

KMT lawmakers made the appeals during a luncheon with Legislative Speaker Wang Jin-pyng (王金平), who also doubles as a vice chairman of the KMT and is a potential party leader if Lien were to step down.

Wang told reporters he had informed Lien about the luncheon in advance, while KMT spokesman Alex Tsai (蔡正元) told reporters that Lien had ordered Wang to attend.

"Wang was ordered by Lien to solicit opinions from KMT law-makers about the political climate after the presidential election, the nomination method of the year-end legislative election and the path the party would take in the future," Tsai said.

Wang scheduled two more lunches with 56 other KMT law-makers for the following three days, following which Lien is expected to meet lawmakers to hear their opinions first-hand, Tsai added.

During the luncheon, lawmaker Apollo Chen (陳學聖) proposed that Lien and PFP Chairman James Soong (宋楚瑜) become the honorary leaders of the two parties, while Wang and Taipei Mayor Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) take the helm of the KMT and make some real decisions.

"The party should activate its party reform mechanism and let Wang and Ma take charge of party reforms," Chen said.

KMT Legislator Chang Chang-tsai (張昌財) said that the party had to change its leader.

Saying he did not have any preference for a particular person, Chang pointed out the importance of electing the party chairman democratically.

In addition to calling for a change in the party leadership, KMT Legislator Hsu Chung-hsiung (徐中雄) proposed putting an end to launching appeals by means of protests.

"The party has to adjust itself to lean toward the middle of the political spectrum to prevent the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) associating the KMT with violence or China," he said.

Trying to play down his colleagues' grievances, KMT caucus whip Liao Feng-te (廖風德) said that the party did not have any problem choosing a future path, because all party lawmakers had their attention focused on the year-end legislative election.

DPP Legislator Tsai Huang-liang (蔡煌瑯) said that Lien, who has now lost two presidential elections, should step down as party chairman to shoulder political responsibility and allow party members such as Wang and Ma to take over.

"It seems that Lien doesn't consider himself to be responsible for the election defeat, as he blamed his first election failure on former president Lee Teng-hui (李登輝) and the second on the Central Election Commission (CEC)," Tsai said.

"Even those who have the slightest sense of honor would apologize for the two election fiascos, but he's still shamelessly hanging on to his position," said DPP caucus Secretary-General Lee Chun-yee (李俊毅).

"KMT members with a sense of rationality should come out and speed up the party's reform, instead of allowing those who have lost their mind to cause more damage to the nation," he said.

Regarding the nomination strategy for the legislative election, Wang told reporters after the luncheon that participating lawmakers have agreed to team up with their PFP counterparts.

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