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Wed, Jan 10, 2001 - Page 3 News List

Several top aides likely to run for legislature

POWER PLAY Analysts say the president is moving to consolidate his power by having some of his closest aides run for seats in the upcoming legislative election

By Lin Mei-chun  /  STAFF REPORTER

Rumors that several of the president's aides may participate in the upcoming legislative elections signal the president's resolve to overturn the DPP's minority status in the legislature and to exert more influence in the DPP caucus, politicians and political analysts said yesterday.

On Sunday, Vice Chairman of the Council for Cultural Affairs Luo Wen-chia (羅文嘉) and Vice Chairman of the Executive Yuan's Research, Development and Evaluation Commission You Ying-lung (游盈隆) -- two leading campaign strategists of President Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁) -- made public their desire to enter this December's legislative campaign race.

Reports have also said that Hsiao Bi-khim (蕭美琴), Chen's translator, and Vice Minister of the Interior Lee Yi-yang (李逸洋) -- another longstanding assistant of the president -- have revealed intentions to participate in the election battle.

Both Hsiao and Lee will make a final decision on the matter by next Monday when registration for the DPP primary starts.

"We can see the DPP administration of the past eight months has been far from smooth due to the DPP being a minority in the legislature," said Wang Yeh-li (王業立), chairman of the political science department at Tunghai University.

"It is only natural that the president wants to ameliorate this situation by trying to increase the DPP's share of legislative seats -- particularly if [those seats go to] the president's loyal followers," Wang said, adding that because the DPP caucus is a rather autonomous entity, Chen has very little control over it.

"It would create a much easier situation for Chen if these close aides were his `megaphone' both at the legislature and in the DPP's legislative caucus," he said.

New Party lawmaker Cheng Long-shui (鄭龍水) and independent lawmaker Josephine Chu (朱惠良), endorsed Wang's line, saying that it was quite apparent that the president sought to win more support at the Legislative Yuan by arranging for his proteges to join the election.

"We've found that the president is incapable of doing what he wishes at the legislature. The obstacles stem from not only the opposition, but also the DPP caucus. With these people entering the legislature, on the one hand, the legislative seats will be increased, and on the other hand, Chen can silence the noise coming from the DPP legislative caucus," Cheng said.

However, New Party lawmaker Lai Shyh-bao (賴士葆) questioned if such an arrangement would be effective.

"It requires abundant experience to be an influential figure at the legislature. Carrying the president's halo, there shouldn't be any problem for them to get elected. Nonetheless, their joining would only increase the DPP seats at the legislature. Unless they become caucus leaders immediately, I am skeptical of their influence," Lai said.

Lin Cho-shui (林濁水), a DPP legislator, also cautioned that these legislative hopefuls should not overestimate their own strength once elected.

"It wouldn't be easy for newcomers to play too significant a role in the DPP caucus given their lack of experience and seniority. What they should look into is enhancing the DPP's overall power at the legislature instead," Lin said.

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