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Sun, Jan 16, 2000 - Page 3 News List

Soong has yet to show how his `quiet revolution' is going to work: analysts

NONPARTISAN POLITICS In the absence of concrete measures, observers see Soong's claim that he is transcending party politics as no more than empty political rhetoric

By Lauren Chen  /  STAFF REPORTER

Independent presidential candidate James Soong (宋楚瑜) yesterday pledged to carry out what he called the "second wave of a quiet revolution" by applying nonpartisan politics which he claims will separate the party machine from the state.

"I do not intend to form a new party after I am elected as president because without the pressure of maintaining a party's victory, I will not be forced to distort the resource distribution process," Soong said.

"As a result of its election victories, the ruling [KMT] party now appears to have stopped handling government affairs and is instead focused on boosting its own momentum," he said.

Critics remained cautious over Soong's remarks, as he has yet to offer concrete measures to explain how his "nonpartisan alliance" will work.

The KMT's presidential candidate, Lien Chan (連戰), last week launched a verbal attack on Soong's cross-party politics, suggesting such slogans are similar to a drug unendorsed by drug companies. Lien said for safety's sake it is better to take brand-name product.

Yesterday, Soong hit back.

"Without campaign pressure, I can invite cross-party political elites to join our nonpartisan alliance, which will create a natural balance in the administrative branch [of the government] by drawing heavyweights from various parties,'' Soong said.

"Since I have no party associates to back up my promises in the legislature, I will have to pursue policies which meet the interests of the majority of people," he said.

When asked what mechanisms could be used to balance diverse interests while avoiding potential conflicts, Soong had no clear answer.

"How can I make policy meet the greatest common denomi-nator? I already have the formula to cope with this situation, and I believe it will come as a surprise to everyone,'' Soong said.

Critics, meanwhile, appeared less than convinced of Soong's reform blueprint, and have urged the former provincial governor to clarify the key points of his so-called nonpartisan alliance.

"If such an alliance consists of interest groups from the political fringe, it will inevitably bring about conflicts, so Soong has to convince voters why other countries have failed to achieve what he says he will accomplish," Lin Jih-wen (林繼文), an assistant research fellow at Academia Sinica, said.

Until Soong puts forward substantial measures, Lin said, his nonpartisan alliance appears to be little more than a campaign strategy.

"Soong has created the impression that only the people's interests are above him, while he himself is above party politics,'' Lin said.

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