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Wed, Jun 20, 2001 - Page 3 News List

DPP holds discussions on alliances

POLITICAL DEBATEThe party met to hold a debate about the potential outcome of an alliance with Lee Teng-hui and the possibility of a two-party system

By Joyce Huang  /  STAFF REPORTER

DPP chairman Frank Hsieh, fourth left, presents sticky rice dumplings to Hsu Tain-tsair, third left, the party's candidate for the Tainan City mayoral race, and legislative candidates for the Tainan constituency. The Chinese word for making sticky rice dumplings, "baotzung," is synonymous with the word "guaranteed to win."

PHOTO: CHEN CHENG-CHANG, TAIPEI TIMES

To prepare for the possibility of a "two-party" system after the year-end elections, the DPP yesterday held the first of a series of debates on whether an alliance would be beneficial to the party.

There has been talk recently in political circles of an alliance forming between former president Lee Teng-hui (李登輝) and President Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁), creating the so-called Lee-Bian alliance.

In addition, KMT Chairman Lien Chan (連戰) and People First Party Chairman James Soong (宋楚瑜) have teamed up, the so-called Lien-Soong alliance.

DPP members met yesterday to debate potential outcomes of an alliance with Lee and the possibility that Taiwan politics may be headed for a political arrangement that resembles a two-party system.

Members of the pro-alliance debate team included party Secretary-General Wu Nai-jen (吳乃仁), central standing committee member Liu Shih-fang (劉世芳) and legislator Cho Jung-tai (卓榮泰).

Debating the negative side were legislator Shen Fu-hsiung (沈富雄) and legislative candidates Julian Kuo (郭正亮) and Lan Shih-tsung (藍世聰).

In yesterday's discussion, which was held behind closed doors, Kuo said that he believed there would be three disadvantages to the DPP should politics split into Lee-Bian and Lien-Soong camps.

First, pro-Lee candidates could siphon away DPP votes, hurting the party's candidates.

Second, Kuo said, a Lee-Bian alliance would limit the party's ability to align with other opposition parties, as everyone else would have chosen sides after the elections.

Third, a Lee-Bian alliance could intensify ethnic and ideological confrontation in Taiwan -- such as the issues of Taiwan independence and unification with China -- to the party's disadvantage.

In support of Kuo's view, Shen said the party should not take the risk of asking voters to take sides because they might not choose the DPP, adding they risked losing their middle-of-the-road supporters.

But Cho, speaking on the pro side, said "the DPP would likely win an absolute majority to maintain political stability if two major political alliances, not necessarily two parties, have been forged."

He said that the party, before the year-end elections, should clearly declare whom it wants to become a partner with or cooperate with.

Cho also urged the DPP not to overemphasize the pro-Taiwan angle.

Instead, he said the party's record on "black gold" politics should be stressed in order to differentiate the DPP from Lien and Soong.

The DPP plans to hold five more discussions to debate topics. These are to cover partisan confrontation, the DPP government's achievements and faults, the timetable for implementation of the three major links and also the current economic downturn.

Conclusions drawn from the debates will be prepared as reference materials for DPP officials who are invited to attend call-in shows and defend the party's policies.

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