Tue, Jan 25, 2005 - Page 1 News List

Chang withdraws from speaker race

LEGISLATIVE SHAKE-UP Saying that cooperation between the PFP and the DPP no longer seemed likely, Chang Chun-hsiung said he would not vie for the speakership

By Jewel Huang  /  STAFF REPORTER

With the chances of cooperation with the People First Party (PFP) dimming, Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Secretary-General Chang Chun-hsiung (張俊雄) yesterday announced that he will withdraw from the race for the legislative speakership, while DPP Legislator Trong Chai (蔡同榮) declared that he will join the campaign on behalf of the DPP.

Chang, who has been nominated as a legislator-at-large for the DPP and was viewed as a promising candidate to helm the legislature, made the announcement yesterday morning at DPP headquarters, accompanied by DPP officials.

"Although the DPP has made an effort to promote cross-party cooperation and has demonstrated as much goodwill as possible to the PFP after the legislative elections -- and even though PFP Chairman James Soong (宋楚瑜) said last week that the PFP would support incumbent Legislative Speaker Wang Jin-pyng (王金平) -- the DPP has never given up the hope of working with the PFP," Chang said.

"However, regrettably, over the past days we haven't seen the hoped-for outcome," he said.

"The premise under which I planned to campaign for the legislative speakership does not exist any more," Chang said. "Therefore, I hereby announce that I will not campaign for the legislative speakership or vice speakership on Feb. 1."

Chang also said that he would not take any post in the DPP's legislative caucus; however, he would still work for the people of Taiwan as a legislator-at-large.

Chang added that he had reported to President Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁) about his decision, and obtained Chen's approval.

"As for the upcoming legislative speaker election, the DPP will respect the decision of its legislative caucus, and it is up to the caucus whether it will nominate candidates for the speakership," Chang said.

Chang also denied the rumor that some candidates for the speakership have been involved in vote-buying, at a price of NT$10 million per vote.

"Do you think it's possible for the DPP to do such a thing?" Chang said, angrily.

Meanwhile, DPP caucus whip Tsai Huang-liang (蔡煌瑯) said yesterday that the DPP would never be absent from the legislative speakership election.

"As long as there's still a ray of hope for DPP-PFP cooperation, the DPP will never give up," Tsai said. "We won't rule out the possibility of working with the Taiwan Solidarity Union [TSU], the Non-Partisan Solidarity Union, or even the PFP in terms of the candidates."

"The caucus will first hold a meeting on Wednesday and work out how the DPP will work with other political parties," he added.

But Chai announced yesterday afternoon that he would run for the speakership since Chang decided to drop out of the campaign.

Chai said that the president knew of his decision, and "at the least, Chen did not oppose it."

Another caucus whip, Ker Chien-ming (柯建銘), said he will consider over the next two days whether he will join the campaign, and will announce his decision to the public.

Meanwhile, the PFP and the KMT also confirmed plans to cooperate in the legislative speaker and deputy legislative speaker race yesterday, with the PFP's selection of legislator-at-large Chung Jung-chi (鍾榮吉) as its candidate for deputy legislative speaker.

After three hours of voting by 26 of the PFP's 34 representatives in the next legislature, Chung was declared to be the candidate with the most support.

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