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Tue, May 02, 2000 - Page 3 News List

KMT members fume over turncoats joining Cabinet

PARTY LOYALTY Some members of the once-powerful KMT are demanding that members who join the DPP government be expelled from the party's ranks

By Hung Chen-ling  /  STAFF REPORTER

President-elect Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁) and Premier-designate Tang Fei (唐飛), despite having just completed forming the new Cabinet, still face further challenges from the Legislative Yuan and their own parties over their choices.

Just as the new Cabinet showed up for an introduction to the public yesterday, KMT officials criticized the fact that some of their colleagues were appointed to Chen's Cabinet and demanded that such "shameless" people be expelled from the party.

"Some of these Cabinet members with KMT party membership did not make an effort to help KMT presidential candidate Lien Chan (連戰). And now that they are to serve in the DPP government, the KMT should draw the line with them," said Ting Shou-chung(丁守中), deputy executor-general of KMT's Central Policy Committee.

Similar opinions were repeated at the KMT's legislative caucus meeting yesterday.

KMT caucus leader Lin Chien-jung (林建榮) told the Taipei Times that although such ideas represented only individual opinions and not that of the caucus, they appeared to reveal the dissatisfaction toward the new government among KMT members.

In fact, there are 15 KMT members in the Cabinet, representing one third of the total. Lin said despite the large number of party members in the new Cabinet, the KMT will still stand as the opposition.

People First Party caucus leader Chiu Chuang-liang (邱創良), meanwhile, was quoted as saying that his party will act as a loyal opposition and praised the fact that many prominent academics were recruited into the new government.

President-elect Chen is believed to be been especially concerned about the balance between the various parties during the process of composing the cabinet. His so-called "people's government," however, is no guarantee it will receive support from other political forces.

DPP legislative caucus leader Lee Wen-Chung (李文忠) predicts Chen could well have a very hard time in the early part of his presidential term.

"Since Chen chose his Cabinet on the basis of personnel matters instead of policy consistency, he will undoubtedly make efforts to integrate the different opinions [within the Cabinet] before going ahead with any major issues," Lee said.

The controversial issue of the fourth nuclear plant, for example, is related to many agencies -- the Atomic Energy Commission, Ministry of Economic Affairs, and the Council of Economic Planning and Development. Lee speculated that the heads of these agencies could disagree over whether or not to continue construction on the plant.

In addition to solving potential disagreements within the Cabinet, Chen may have to compromise with both the DPP and the KMT in order to smoothly promote his policies.

During a meeting with DPP faction leaders last week, Chen had expressed his hopes of getting major support from the Legislative Yuan.

But that, according to Lee, may prove a difficult task.

"It is not easy to form a stable majority," said Lee, "because the KMT does not seem united any more."

Lee suggested that, in spite of having to make policy in the name of public opinion, Chen should communicate more with DPP members in order to ensure legislative support.

"The DPP caucus will favor Chen's government as long as many of its members are involved in the policy-making process," Lee said.

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