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Fri, Mar 24, 2000 - Page 3 News List

KMT: come back Soong

PRODIGAL SON KMT professors are urging James Soong's return to the fold, saying the DPP could establish a monopoly on power if he stays away

By Chiu Yu-Tzu  /  STAFF REPORTERS

In a bid to bolster a weakened KMT after its crushing defeat in the presidential election, dozens of academics affiliated with the party issued a statement yesterday urging James Soong (宋楚瑜) to rejoin the Nationalist party.

At a news conference held yesterday by senior KMT-affiliated university professors, the academics said they were disappointed with the KMT's "incredible failure" in Saturday's polls that ended the party's 54-year grip on power.

"We sincerely call on Soong to rejoin the party, because we don't want to see the DPP monopolize power, with two smaller parties, the KMT and Soong's new party, neutralizing each other," said Chang Ya-yun (張亞澐), a retired professor from National Chengchi University.

"Forming a new party is both unrealistic and irresponsible. We have to reintegrate the KMT, because the party has to be a powerful opposition party and monitor the ruling DPP," Chang said.

Chang added that the the KMT should not simply vanish.

"Soong was a KMT member for decades and he should remain loyal to the party. He cannot become a traitor," said James Yang (楊日青), a political scientist at National Chengchi University.

He said the KMT would be in a stronger position to stand up to the DPP if Soong returned to the KMT, rather than form a new party, as he has announced he would do.

Those attending the news conference also urged KMT chairman Lee Teng-hui (李登輝) to step down today -- as he is expected to do -- and allow Lien Chan (連戰), the party's vice chairman to take over and oversee reform of the party.

"Lee Teng-hui should resign and take responsibility for his mistaken policy-making, which caused the party's failure in the election," James Yang said.

Lien garnered just 23 percent of the vote, trailing a distant third behind Soong, who won 37 percent.

"The DPP's victory doesn't mean that all the current problems caused by `black gold' politics will be solved entirely."

'The `sunshine laws' (currently under legislative review) need cooperation between the DPP and KMT if they are to go through," Yang said.

He added that the party should strengthen itself by welcoming former members who left during the election.

A statement issued by the academics called for the new party chair to be elected in a direct vote by all KMT members.

"Why are KMT members abandoning the party? Because the party lacks a democratic mechanism," Yang said.

He said important party decisions were traditionally made by the chairman and that this had created a gap between high level leaders and the rank and file.

"Meetings held by the KMT Central Standing Committee consist of one person laying down the law. There's no democracy at all in the party," Yang said.

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