People First Party (PFP) Legislator Shen Chih-hwei (沈智慧) yesterday announced in an official press release that she was determined to become the new deputy legislative speaker. Her move drew renewed attention to conflicts in the pan-blue camp.
Shen is a senior lawmaker who has chalked up five terms in office, and has been re-elected for a sixth. She has been enthusiastically seeking support for her campaign ever since the legislative elections, although she had not officially announced her intention to become deputy legislative speaker until now.
Her statement yesterday was unusual, since it has long been rumored that PFP Chairman James Soong (
"The majority in the new legislature consists of the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT), the PFP, and the New Party, and not just the KMT. So the three parties should respect and work with each other," the statement said.
"Cooperation on the speakership and deputy speakership would be the first thing that cooperation between the KMT, PFP and New Party should achieve," the statement said.
"Shen Chih-hwei has won her sixth term, and she is firm about running for the deputy speakership. The KMT should not ask the PFP to concede the deputy speakership to the KMT, because this is unfair to the PFP's many talented people," the statement said.
Shen said that she had received Soong's approval before starting her campaign, and that she had verified with the party's top officials that they had never promised to leave the deputy speakership to the KMT.
Shen also made it very clear that the PFP and the KMT would work together over the next three years, but that a merger would be out of the question.
But PFP caucus whip Liu Wen-hsiung (
Liu has criticized her campaign in the past, although without explicitly naming Shen.
He has said that no PFP legislator should attempt campaigning for the speakership or deputy speakership before the party has reached a decision.
"Her effort is one thing, but the party's decision is another. This is her own personal behavior," Liu said when asked about whether Shen's statement was in line with party policy.
"I can only say that no matter what happens, she should act elegantly. If she wins, she should take the deputy speakership with elegance, but if not, she should accept it with elegance too," Liu said.