President Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁) yesterday met with Legislative Speaker Wang Jin-pyng (王金平), as part of his effort to broker some kind of reconciliation among the nation's political parties.
Wang, who also doubles as the Chinese Nationalist Party's (KMT) vice chairman, met with Chen at the Presidential Office on the invitation of the president.
This was Chen's first meeting with a senior politician from the opposition pan-blue camp since he delivered his New Year address, which called for reconciliation and consultation between the ruling and opposition parties.
Prior to meeting Wang yesterday, Chen, in an apparent move to implement his New Year message, had in the past couple of days also met Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) heavyweights and former President Lee Teng-hui (李登輝), who is regarded as the spiritual leader of the Taiwan Solidarity Union (TSU), the DPP's small political ally.
According to the Presidential Office's Department of Public Affairs, Chen met Wang because the president wished to be updated about legislation pending passage.
The president took the opportunity to hear views and analysis from Wang about the political make-up of the new legislature following last month's legislative elections, added the Department of Public Affairs.
The new legislature will take office on Feb. 1.
Wang, meanwhile, said that he mainly talked about legislative affairs with the president, and did not touch on issues relating to party-to-party negotiation mechanisms and a coalition cabinet.
"We didn't talk about the possibility for a coalition Cabinet because this is something to be discussed on a party-to-party basis. I won't be delivering messages [to Chinese Nationalist Party chairman Lien Chan (連戰) for the president either," Wang said.
"The president did tell me, however, that there has been no decision on a candidate for premier yet," Wang said.
Wang said they did not talk about possible candidates because this was not an area in which he had any say.
"There was no concrete idea about possible candidates to lead the Committee for Cross-Strait Peace and Development (兩岸和平發展委員會) either," Wang said.
Wang pointed out that whether the parties could sit down and talk remained a big question.
"If everyone is willing to sit down together, then we can discuss it. But right now there hasn't been any contact nor consensus," Wang said.
"The president and I mainly discussed 10 bills, including a bill convening the ad hoc National Assembly, that need to be passed in this legislative session," Wang said.
Earlier in the morning, before Wang met the president, he relayed Lien's view that there was a chance for the KMT to work with the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) if the DPP was sincere about cross-party cooperation.
Chen yesterday also met with Formosa Plastics Group president Wang Yung-ching (王永慶) to exchange views on Taiwan's economic development and global economic trends. Chen's meeting with Wang Yung-ching was a continuation of their previous meeting before last month's legislative elections, the Presidential Office's Department of Public Affairs said.