KMT legislators say holding protest on May 20 a mistake - Taipei Times
Fri, May 07, 2004 - Page 1 News List

KMT legislators say holding protest on May 20 a mistake

By Debby Wu and Jewel Huang  /  STAFF REPORTERS

Several Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) legislators yesterday spoke out against plans by party Chairman Lien Chan (連戰) to hold a mass demonstration on May 20, the date of President Chen Shui-bian's (陳水扁) inauguration.

The legislators said they supported calls two days ago by Taipei Mayor Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九), who doubles as a KMT vice chairman, that Lien map out the party's future before May 20.

"The KMT should not initiate a mass rally carelessly. If the recount doesn't give us the expected result, a rally on May 20 will only hurt the KMT further," Legislator Apollo Chen (陳學聖), also a member of the party's central standing committee, said.

Previous pan-blue rallies to protest the result of the presidential election turned violent.

KMT legislators Lwo Shih-hsiung (羅世雄) and Huang Min-hui (黃敏惠) said a rally on May 20 may not be justified.

"Mayor Ma's suggestion did not get a kind response from Chairman Lien because the decision-making process was dominated by a few top-level officials," said KMT Legislator Hsu Chung-hsiung (徐中雄), also a central standing committee member.

Two days ago Ma said Lien needed to explain the KMT's direction and strategy.

Ma said the party chairman should explain in public how the KMT would face the result of the recount and detail how he would handle its relationship with the People First Party (PFP) and New Party. Ma said determining the direction of the party was more important than holding another rally on May 20.

Lien dismissed the mayor's suggestions, blaming Chen for failing to respond to the appeals of pan-blue supporters.

But Ma repeated his appeal yesterday, saying he hoped his suggestions would prompt Lien to sort out problems within the party.

"I know that many people support my viewpoints and I hope the party's leaders can voice their opinions quickly to relieve supporters' worries," Ma said.

Ma said he does not oppose the rally planned for May 20, adding he just wants Lien to reach a decision as soon as possible since the date of the rally is fast approaching.

When asked about KMT Taipei City councilors' demands that Lien and six KMT vice chairmen step down to take responsibility for the election failure, Ma said it was too early to discuss the matter since the recount hasn't been conducted.

Ma said responsibility for the presidential election should be discussed after December's legislative election.

Meanwhile, KMT Vice Chairman and Legislative Speaker Wang Jin-pyng (王金平) refused to state his views on the May 20 demonstration.

"I cannot comment on this and I have not been involved in any discussion regarding this," Wang said.

"Everyone can think about it and exchange opinions on this," Wang said.

Wang disagreed with calls for Lien to step down.

"The recount is still in progress, and the party will hold a meeting to reflect on the presidential election campaign and decide who will shoulder responsibility," he said. "Everyone can voice their opinions then."

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