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Sat, Aug 25, 2001 - Page 3 News List

PFP leader Soong denies that he courted the DPP

By Stephanie Low  /  STAFF REPORTER

A proposal from the PFP to form a coalition government wouldn't be an exclusive affair between the PFP and DPP, party Chairman James Soong (宋楚瑜) said yesterday.

Reports earlier suggested that the PFP had proposed forming a coalition government with the DPP after the year-end legislative elections.

Soong said yesterday that the PFP's proposal for a coalition government was meant to address the fact that no single party is likely to control more than 50 percent of the legislature after the elections.

Soong said that the formation of a coalition government was a normal democratic practice to help ensure that the administrative branch enjoys good relations with the legislature.

"When no party wins over half of the seats, how are they going to form a majority?" Soong said at a campaign rally held for a PFP legislative candidate in Taipei County. "We need to attain this goal through different possible groupings."

Soong denied that he had darker motives in proposing talks on a coalition government. "I'm called Machiavellian just because I've raised this proposal, but I think that is too heavy an accusation," he said.

There has been speculation that Soong's talk of forming a coalition government suggests he's interested in a job as premier.

Because Soong has said the PFP would not rule out the possibility of assisting "any political party" in bringing stability to the unruly legislature, his remarks have been interpreted as a hint that the PFP might ally with the DPP instead of the KMT -- depending on the results of the elections.

On Thursday Soong confirmed that he had met with President Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁) in July, which also raised questions that the seasoned politician was hedging his bets with both the DPP and KMT.

But Soong yesterday maintained that he met with Chen because the president wanted to invite him to serve as a vice chairman of the Economic Development Advisory Conference.

Soong said he turned down the offer because he needed to make good on an agreement between himself and KMT Chairman Lien Chan (連戰).

Soong said Lien was well aware of the details of his meeting with Chen.

"Honesty is my principle," Soong said. "As far as this matter is concerned, did I betray Mr Lien or my promise to my friend?"

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