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Tue, Feb 13, 2001 - Page 4 News List

PFP `in no hurry' to talk about election cooperation with KMT

NOT SO FAST Despite friendly overtures made by the main opposition party to the PFP, the latter has made it known it is too early to discuss electoral cooperation

CNA , TAIPEI

The People First Party (PFP) is in no hurry to hold talks with the KMT on cooperation in the year-end elections, PFP officials said yesterday.

They made the remarks after KMT Spokesman Jason Hu (胡志強) said that both opposition parties could begin discussions on such cooperation by the end of the month.

PFP officials said that it would be rushing too much to hold discussions by the end of February, adding that there is no need to move so fast.

PFP heavyweight Liu Sung-fan (劉松藩) said that it would be difficult to talk about cooperation in the legislative elections but that there might be "some room" for discussions concerning the county and city chief elections, adding that "March or April may be appropriate" for such discussions.

Liu also said that both sides continue to have contacts and that they realize there are differences on issues, such as the nominees and their quota, that need to be worked out.

PFP officials also said that a prerequisite to a meeting between the chiefs of the KMT and PFP is that "there is an agenda that both sides can sit down to talk about."

They said that if there is such an agenda, then both sides could meet to discuss how to solve problems or to study how to deal with the new situation.

Chung Jung-chi (鐘榮吉), PFP secretary-general, also said that the issues, whether they be the controversial Fourth Nuclear Power Plant (核四) or others, are not so urgent as to warrant an early meeting between Soong and KMT Chairman Lien Chan (連戰).

Chung suggested that it may be a good idea that the two meet on a more natural occasion, such as Soong visiting Lien next month to congratulate him for winning the party chairmanship. Lien is expected to win uncontested in the first direct election scheduled for March 24 of the KMT chief in the party's 106-year history.

The media has reported widely about the possibility of cooperation between the two parties in the wake of the KMT's goodwill gesture last week when it announced that it would no longer pursue embezzlement charges against PFP Chairman James Soong (宋楚瑜) after a prosecutor dismissed the case because of insufficient evidence.

The KMT said that although it thinks the prosecutor's investigation was flawed, the party has decided not to pursue the case any further for the sake of reconciliation with Soong.

The case arose after the discovery of a huge amount of cash in a secret bank account controlled by Soong, a former KMT secretary-general, which he claimed was put in his charge by then-KMT chairman Lee Teng-hui (李登輝) to finance secret political operations.

The case was believed to have dealt a serious blow to Soong's presidential campaign. Until the case came to light, Soong, who ran as an independent in the campaign, had maintained a convincing lead over all other presidential candidates.

Soong, who finished second in the election, formed the PFP immediately after the election.

Meanwhile Lien, the KMT's presidential candidate, finished a distant third in the election.

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