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Fri, Aug 24, 2001 - Page 3 News List

Lee Teng-hui plans to attend TSU rally with `secret guest'

TEASER The political group says the mystery person is a heavyweight in the KMT and will join Lee in boosting the TSU

By Lin Chieh-yu  /  STAFF REPORTER

Former president Lee Teng-hui (李登輝) plans to attend a campaign rally for the Taiwan Solidarity Union (TSU) next month and will bring along a "secret guest," the political group said yesterday.

The rally is scheduled for Sept. 1 in Kaohsiung City, Su Chin-chang (蘇進強), TSU secretary-general, said yesterday.

"Lee will bring a secret guest who is a heavyweight in the KMT to join him in boosting our legislative candidates at the rally," Su said. He added that Lee has promised to attend all of the TSU's major rallies to be held in Kaohsiung, Taichung and Taipei in the lead up to the December legislative elections.

The party is fielding 39 candidates in the year-end polls.

Continuing to play the "Lee Teng-hui card," the TSU yesterday unveiled merchandise such as stationery and T-shirts that bear the former president's photograph and name. The party plans to sell the memorabilia to raise campaign funds.

Lee's attendance at the rally will likely lead to more calls from KMT conservatives to oust its former chairman from the party. So far, the KMT has remained quiet on whether it will punish Lee, fearing a backlash from his supporters.

Lee yesterday told reporters that he wouldn't be angry or disappointed with the KMT if the party expelled him.

Lee made his remarks after meeting with US House Repre-sentative Henry Hyde at the Grand Hotel yesterday.

Answering reporters' questions about whether he would take the initiative to leave the KMT, Lee simply asked, "How?"

KMT central headquarters' remained silent on the issue yesterday despite calls from some party members to expel Lee immediately.

KMT lawmaker Hung Hsiu-chu (洪秀柱) tabled a motion during the party's weekly Central Standing Committee meeting on Wednesday to expel Lee because the former chairman had given a number of lectures at the TSU's campaign workshop.

KMT Chairman Lien Chan (連戰) said after the meeting that "Nobody can stay out of reach of this system," but added only that the party's discipline committee would "discuss Hung's proposal."

The party is hesitant to punish Lee because the former president is highly popular with many Taiwanese. Expelling him could cost the party votes in the upcoming election.

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