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Mon, May 14, 2001 - Page 3 News List

DPP holds first of coalition meets

STRATEGY The DPP met yesterday to discuss plans of action after the year-end elections, where the most possible outcome is no party winning a clear majority

By Joyce Huang  /  STAFF REPORTER

DPP scholars and lawmakers met yesterday to map out a strategy for forming a coalition government -- an idea that would most likely involve cooperation with the KMT, the People First Party (PFP) or both.

Any coalition would likely come after the year-end legislative elections, which are expected to leave none of the three dominant parties with a majority of seats in the legislature.

Many DPP members see the anticipated shake-up in the Legislative Yuan as an opportunity to team up with opposition members who share similar ideals, thereby giving the DPP greater leverage in its dealings with the legislature.

You Ying-lung (游盈隆), professor of politics at Soochow University, urged the DPP to establish what he dubbed "the grand coalition government."

By his estimates, the DPP is likely to capture 85 seats in the legislative elections, the KMT 75 seats, the PFP 40 seats and the New Party seven seats, with 18 seats going to independent legislators. "After the December elections, the best option for the party would be to form a `super-stable' coalition government, which is centered on President Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁) joined by the DPP, the KMT and the PFP," said You, a former DPP campaign strategist.

You said the DPP should include members from at least two major parties -- the KMT and PFP -- in its coalition to counter any potential threat to its government. From across the aisle, members of the KMT, the PFP and the New Party have been discussing an alliance, the so called "pan blue camp."

You also said that the "grand" coalition government should distribute Cabinet positions based on each party's share of seats in the legislature. The academic suggested that the coalition government could serve a two-year term with either a DPP or non-DPP premier.

But the host of yesterday's seminar, lawmaker Shen Fu-hsiung (沈富雄), doubted whether the KMT and PFP would both join a DPP coalition government.

Shen said that an alliance with just one other major party would produce enough legislative seats to command a majority. Shen had previously advocated forming a coalition government with the KMT.

Julian Kuo (郭正亮), a DPP legislative candidate and former director of the party's policy committee, dismissed the idea of a coalition altogether.

Kuo said that a coalition would be politically unfeasible given the differences between the DPP and other parties. A better idea, he said, was to "dismiss" the DPP party next year, regroup and draft a new party platform -- with an eye toward re-registering the party's old members and drawing in new members from other parties. Kuo said his "dismissal-and-expansion" plan could be put into effect in June next year, in time for the DPP's National Congress meeting. But there were many naysayers who doubted Kuo's idea would work.

Still, Kuo pushed the concept, noting that Japan's Liberal Democratic Party was the result of the successful merger of the Liberal Party and the Democratic Party in 1955. Concluding yesterday's discussions, DPP Chairman Frank Hsieh (謝長廷) said that the party was "sincere in seeking other parties' cooperation in pursuit of political stability, even if the DPP will become the biggest party in the legislature."

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