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Thu, Sep 09, 1999 - Page 3 News List

Su ousted from KMT

NATIONAL ASSEMBLY The speaker is out of the party and a job because of the term extension vote

By Lauren Chen  /  STAFF REPORTER

The KMT's Central Standing Committee expelled National Assembly Speaker Su Nan-cheng (蘇南成) from the party after the controversial passage of a constitutional amendment extending the Assembly's term by more than two years.

At the same time, the KMT's policy-making body decided to set up a provisional task force aiming at controlling the damage caused by the term extension.

During the meeting, almost all the party's political heavyweights backed a resolution to deprive Su of his membership, as well as his position as Assembly speaker.

"In order to demonstrate that we are a responsible party and are capable of looking at our own flaws, it was necessary to take disciplinary action against the term extensions passed by Assembly deputies," a spokesman said, quoting President and KMT chairman Lee Teng-hui (李登輝).

Vice President Lien Chan -- also the KMT's presidential candidate -- echoed Lee's words, expressing his disappointment over what he said was Su's violation of the party's outright opposition to the term extension.

"Some of our comrades failed to follow the party's vision for constitutional amendments, not only betraying the party but contravening public opinion. Under such circumstances, I strongly recommended that party headquarters approve Su's expulsion," Lien said.

KMT secretary-general John Chang (章孝嚴) said the unanimous support for the decision "reflects that our firm opposition against the term extensions never changed."

But Chang added that the expulsion was only the beginning of rebuilding public trust after the unpopular extension move.

"We still have to apologize to the public over Su's misleading behavior when he pushed the term extension amendment through," he said.

In addition to the symbolic apology, officials said the KMT is undertaking other damage control measures.

"To ease the turbulence over the term extension, I have proposed setting up a professional task force to research constitutional reform issues," Lien declared.

As for the details of the task force, Chang said he still needed more time to map out the whole structure.

"Basically we will try to do our best to reverse the damage," he said.

In stark contrast to angry comments made two days ago, Su himself remained calm yesterday, while continuing to complain about what he said was unfair treatment by the KMT's Evaluation and Disciplinary Commission.

"Even criminals condemned to death are allowed due process, from investigation to trial to appeal. But my behavior appears to have been deemed more serious than a capital crime. Why didn't they allow me to defend myself?" Su said.

"Even if the party wants to put me in front of a firing squad, they have to let me finish my last meal first," Su added.

When asked what he planned to do after being removed from both office and party rank, Su shrugged his shoulders, saying he believed everything would be all right.

"I believe I will find something to do -- otherwise, I can live out my days on instant noodles," he said.

While Su was under siege from the KMT, DPP Assembly caucus leader Liu I-teh (劉一德) expressed no regrets at having contravened his own party headquarters' orders on the constitutional amendments.

He showed no hesitation in supporting Su.

"The KMT has chosen the wrong time to punish Su. The presidential election is approaching, and the backlash from the Assembly deputies could well exceed the KMT's evaluation,'' Liu said.

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