Sun, Oct 03, 2004 - Page 1 News List

KMT seniors blame Soong for `downfall'

SCAPEGOAT Senior KMT members yesterday urged the People First Party chairman to return to the party fold, saying he played a major role in the KMT's loss of power

By Caroline Hong  /  STAFF REPORTER

The heat was turned up again yesterday on People First Party (PFP) Chairman James Soong (宋楚瑜) when a member of the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) old guard accused Soong of playing a major role in causing the KMT's political downfall.

"Soong is second in responsibility only to [former president] Lee Teng-hui (李登輝) for causing the KMT to lose its political power and for the demise of the nation's title, the `Republic of China,'" said KMT elder Wang Tso-jung (王作榮) at the party's Central Advisory Committee meeting yesterday.

The former president has been widely regarded by many KMT members as having betrayed the party and its principles because of his pro-independence activities after the end of his presidential term in 2000.

Wang, a former Control Yuan head, called on Soong to "repent his past mistakes and take action towards [furthering] the proposed PFP-KMT merger."

"Soong should bring the PFP back to the KMT," Wang said, echoing a plea on Tuesday from fellow party old-guard Lee Huan (李煥) that Soong should return to KMT Chairman Lien Chan's (連戰) side.

In comments to the media on Tuesday, Lee Huan said Soong was hindering the merger of the parties constituting the pan-blue camp and called for an earlier merger date.

At the meeting yesterday, Lee Huan reiterated his earlier position and added that he was saddened to have seen no positive action from Soong since Tuesday.

He also expressed the hope that Lien would retain his seat as party chairman when the position goes up for grabs next March, saying that, otherwise, the KMT will be unable to move smoothly towards a new future.

Lee Huan's and Wang's calls for the merger stood in marked contrast to Lien's more neutral appeal at the meeting.

"The power of unity cannot be denied. All fellows on the same path, including the PFP, the New Party and independent friends, should unite for the country in this time of crisis as common followers of Mr. Sun Yat-sen [Taiwan's founding father]," Lien said yesterday.

The KMT's hopes for an early pan-blue reunion, however, might go unfulfilled given the bitterness that the PFP still holds toward the KMT leadership.

Speaking at a PFP-organized debate competition yesterday, Soong scoffed at Lee Huan's and Wang's comments.

"Who are Lee and Wang to ask the PFP to rejoin the KMT?" Soong asked.

"You need to remember, at the time, it was not Lee Teng-hui that `fired' me and other outstanding political talent from the KMT. While Lee might have suggested firing us, it was the whole group of these so-called `bigwigs,' or rather `littlewigs,' that voted to remove us from the KMT, and now they're turning around on their previous stance and telling us to hurry on back," Soong said yesterday.

Soong and his supporters were expelled from the KMT in 2000 when Soong launched his own presidential campaign without the party's approval.

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