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Thu, Jan 04, 2001 - Page 3 News List

KMT exodus could cost party its majority

DEFECTION Lawmakers and leading figures in the KMT said yesterday they will leave the party, which could mean it will lose its majority in the Legislative Yuan

By Lin Chieh-yu  /  STAFF REPORTER

Nine KMT lawmakers and party heavyweights yesterday told journalists they may leave the KMT fold and serve as independents or join other political parties.

Other party members who did not want to be named said they may also follow suit. The lawmakers' departure could cost the KMT its lock on the Legislative Yuan. The KMT occupies 115 of the 225 seats in the legislature.

"I have observed all three major political parties since last March's presidential election, and they don't match my ideals," said KMT Legislator Huang Chao-shun (黃昭順).

"But I don't like the fact that KMT Chairman Lien Chan (連戰) still listens to only a few members," Huang added, saying that Lien was too far removed from the grassroots membership.

Huang said that she had discussed the KMT's development with her father -- former president of the Control Yuan, Huang Tsun-chiu (黃尊秋) -- many times before he died, and has now decided to leave the party.

Huang said she would not join any party for the time being, but Wu Ching-chih (吳清池), another disillusioned KMT lawmaker, said yesterday that he planned to run as a People First Party candidate in December's legislative elections.

"Other party lawmakers also intend to leave," Wu said.

Liu Ping-wei (劉炳偉) and Yang Wen-hsin (楊文欣), who are former speakers and vice speakers of the Taiwan Provincial Assembly, have yet to re-register as KMT members but refused to make any comment yesterday.

Hsu Den-koun (許登宮), Wong Chung-chun (翁重鈞) and Chen Ming-wen (陳明文), all representatives of Chiayi County, have also failed to re-register so far.

In addition, former minister of the interior Huang Chu-wen (黃主文) and former party spokesman Huang Hui-chen (黃輝珍) recently both expressed their disappointment with the KMT's new platform.

"The party is betraying Lee Teng-hui's line, which still represents the mainstream thought of Taiwanese," Huang Chu-wen said.

KMT leaders said that they would maintain communications with the wavering lawmakers to persuade them into staying.

"As far as I know, only six party lawmakers have yet to re-register, and they have different reasons for considering not re-registering but we will try to satisfy them to keep them within our ranks," said director-general of the KMT's Organizational Development Committee, Chao Shou-po (趙守博).

Meanwhile, Lien Chan said at the party's Central Standing Committee weekly meeting yesterday that he was moved to learn that more than 850,000 people have completed membership re-registration procedures.

The KMT, which once boasted two million members, carried out a re-registration drive between Sept. 1 and Dec.31, after its humiliating defeat in the presidential election last year.

The party's central headquarters has extended the deadline of the drive to Jan. 31 to give supporters more time to re-register.

In a related development yesterday, the KMT was preparing to welcome back one of its veteran members, Chen Li-an (陳履安), former president of the Control Yuan, after he expressed his wish to return.

Chen, who quit the party to run independently in the 1996 presidential election, took the initiative to rejoin the party by contacting Lien to express his wishes.

The KMT attaches great importance to his return, and director-general Chao cut short his attendance at the KMT meeting to call on Chen and to bring him his re-registration forms.

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