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Tue, Feb 20, 2001 - Page 3 News List

KMT-PFP compact meets dissent

COOPERATION The two largest opposition parties continued making noises about collaboration yesterday with the KMT calling for legal reform to allow dual-party tickets

By Joyce Huang  /  STAFF REPORTER

With its eye on the December mayoral and county commissioners' elections and in a sign of possible cooperation between the KMT and the PFP against the ruling DPP, the KMT yesterday stated its intention to propose revisions to the Law on Local Government Systems (地方制度法), allowing candidates to ally with members of other parties as running mates in order to maximize votes.

Some KMT members, however, expressed opposition to such a proposal.

"If a candidate and his running mate, who belong to different parties, win the election, how will they make appointments fairly according to party representation? What if they disagree with each other? It will surely cause chaos," lawmaker Chen Horng-chi (陳鴻基) said, adding that the idea was not feasible.

Other KMT members, however, disagreed with Chen, saying that the details of further cooperation were negotiable.

"The KMT and the PFP are associated parties. There is plenty of room for electoral cooperation to achieve victory," KMT caucus whip Cheng Yuan-chin (鄭永金) said.

Echoing Cheng's view, lawmaker Liao Fung-te (廖風德) said he believed the proposal could be beneficial during mayoral and commissioner elections. But he said he thinks it would difficult during legislative elections where he says people are more likely to vote on the basis of personality over party affiliation.

Both PFP spokesman Hwang Yih-jiau (黃義交) and New Party caucus leader Lai Shyh-bao (賴士葆) said yesterday that their parties were likely to endorse the KMT's proposal.

The KMT, in addition, is likely to propose that electoral victory in the mayoral and commissioner's races depended on winning an absolute majority (絕對多數) instead of a relative majority (相對多數) as the law currently requires.

DPP members, however, said the opposition alliance's move was an act of political manipulation, taking advantage of their majority of legislative seats to revise laws any way they wanted to.

"It's their short-term strategy [to cooperate with each other] since they are unlikely to merge as a party in the longer term," DPP legislator Shen Fu-hsiung (沈富雄) said, adding that the party's proposal to revise the law was based on political and electoral considerations.

A secret meeting between KMT chairman Lien Chan (連戰) and PFP chairman James Soong (宋楚瑜) last Friday shed light on bipartisan cooperation and an upcoming roundtable meeting between the leaders of the New Party, PFP and KMT. Though Soong was later disgruntled about Lien's announcement of the meeting to media, he said the PFP was carefully evaluating the possibilities and likely effects of cooperation with the KMT.

"The party will compete fairly against other parties in accordance with the principles of party politics," Soong said on Sunday, adding that he met with Lien last Friday to express his thanks to the KMT for its decision not to seek reconsideration of a prosecutor's decision not to indict him in the Chung Hsing bills finance case (興票案).

Soong had, during the presidential election, faced charges that he embezzled roughly NT$360 million of the KMT's funds.

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