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Sun, Apr 15, 2001 - Page 3 News List

New Party keeps the heat on PFP

ON-GOING DISPUTE The New Party continued to lash out at James Soong, while the party's former convener said he considered overtures from the PFP insulting

STAFF WRITER

New Party leaders yesterday continued to lash out at the People First Party (PFP), accusing the party of being two-faced (兩手策略) in its quest to pick up seats in the year-end elections.

The New Party has accused the PFP of poaching its members since the announcement on Thursday that New Party Taichung County legislator Feng Ting-kuo (馮定國) would join the PFP.

New Party legislator and spokesperson Lai Shyh-bao (賴士葆) yesterday said, "The PFP and the New Party are just like the two characters from the cartoon Tom and Jerry. While the two might appear to be pals, the cat, Tom, actually wants to swallow the mouse, Jerry."

After Lai's meeting with New Party Convener Hsieh Chi-ta (謝啟大) on Friday night, the two decided to continue to voice their anger with the PFP in order to reduce any negative impact Feng's defection might have on the party.

According to Lai, if PFP Chairman James Soong (宋楚瑜) wants to continue cooperation among the three major opposition parties, he must show his sincerity to the other two parties.

Lai also accused the PFP of being two-faced. Lai said that the PFP initially strongly supported New Party calls to suspend independent legislator Lo Fu chu (羅福助) for assaulting PFP legislator Diane Lee (李慶安), but that few PFP heavyweights actually showed up to vote on Lo's case.

Lai said the incident was an example of how the PFP only supports the opposition in public but then behind the scenes acts according to its best interests.

Rumor has it that Soong had suggested inviting New Party heavyweights -- such as the party's former convener Wang Chien-shien (王建火宣), former legislator Chou Yang-shang (周陽山) and senior member Kao Shin-wu (高新武) -- to represent the PFP in the legislative election. Lai, however, stressed yesterday that the three would never join the PFP.

Wang, who returned from a visit to China last night, held a press conference about the rumors upon his return. He told reporters he considers Soong's invitation an insult and that he would not stray from his party.

"I want to be the New Party's loyal dog," he said.

Wang earlier reportedly wrote a private letter to Feng which said that "Feng's behavior was worse than that of a dog."

In response to the criticism, a PFP spokesperson, Hsieh Kung-ping (謝公秉), yesterday stressed that Soong had never invited Kao, who is Soong's good friend, or other New Party members to "defect" to the PFP.

Meanwhile, New Party heavyweight Hsu Li-nung (許歷農) yesterday suggested that both his party and the PFP should work together closely in order to win mutual interests.

Hsu said he believes that the PFP would not try to poach the New Party's elite into its ranks intentionally.

He said he also has confidence that his party would not become a bubble (泡沫) party.

In August 1993, a group of young elite KMT members broke away from the party and established the New Party.

With only nine seats in the legislature, however, the party now faces the prospect of a PFP merger or takeover.

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