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Thu, Apr 19, 2001 - Page 3 News List

Wang denies plot to retain position

RumorsAllegations that the legislature's speaker is plotting to retain his position are the latest in a series that hint at a major political realignment

By Stephanie Low  /  STAFF REPORTER

Legislative Yuan speaker Wang Jin-pyng (王金平) yesterday denied knowledge of an alleged political plot led by President Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁) and his predecessor Lee Teng-hui (李登輝), which would ensure that Wang retains the speakership in the Legislative Yuan after the year-end elections.

"I've never heard anything of the sort. Furthermore, this sort of thing [seeking to retain the speakership] shouldn't be discussed until after the elections," Wang said.

The allegation is the latest in a series of reports suggesting various scenarios for future political cooperation based on a Chen-Lee connection.

According to some of these reports, some KMT legislators who are believed to maintain close relations with Lee are ready to leave the party to form a new political group to cooperate with the DPP in the legislature.

Unnamed members of the Generation-E Alliance (e世代問政聯盟), one of the subgroups consisting of KMT legislators considered to be close to Lee and thought to be potential members of the new political group, are reported to have dismissed such a move as unfeasible.

They said the most likely format under which Lee could continue his influence over local politics would be for him to urge his supporters to support Chen's presidency and Wang's speakership, given that the KMT, under the leadership of Lien Chan (連戰), is drifting away from Lee's old line of advocating a "localization" of the KMT's policies.

Under such a "Chen-Lee ruling coalition," it is alleged, Wang would gain enough support to retain his speakership, while a member of the DPP would become the vice speaker.

Wang, currently a vice chairman of the KMT, has long been considered to be closely linked with Lee and has been friendly to many legislators from across party lines. At the same time, Wang has been able to win Chen's trust, especially after he coordinated an effort to help end the Fourth Nuclear Power Plant (核四) dispute in February.

Wang yesterday said that the situation after the next legislative elections, in which none of the political parties is expected to control an absolute majority in the legislature, is what motivates political parties to cooperate.

Wang predicted that the KMT in the year-end election would win 80 to 95 of the total of 225 legislative seats, remaining the largest party in the legislature though losing its overall majority.

Wang said a few KMT legislators were indeed in touch with other parties, but none had yet indicated an intention to leave the KMT. He added that the decisions of legislators had nothing to do with Lee.

The DPP also denied plans for a "Chen-Lee ruling coalition" yesterday. Chou Po-lun (周伯倫), convener of the DPP caucus in the legislature, said it was premature to talk about any kind of coalition, because the result of the legislative elections would decide the format of any cooperation.

"If the DPP becomes the largest party in the legislature after the elections, there will be no reason why a member of the DPP cannot become the speaker," Chou said.

Chen Horng-chi (陳鴻基), chairman of the Generation-E Alliance, held a similar view.

Chen said the most likely format for cooperation would be a party-to-party one.

"These [political groups] could become a force, but they will never be the key force deciding future political cooperation," Chen said.

While expressing his firm refusal to join the reported political group, Chen said the legislators have thought about leaving the KMT to form the group because of "personal factors."

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