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Sun, Dec 09, 2001 - Page 3 News List

New Party strengthens its resolve to make a fresh start

REALITY The leadership decided that the party will continue to function and reform itself in preparation for a new beginning , despite the preference of some to disband

By Stephanie Low  /  STAFF REPORTER

The New Party leadership decided yesterday that the party will continue to function and reform itself in preparation for a fresh start, despite the preference of some politicians to disband the party following its dismal performance in the Dec. 1 legislative election.

Levi Ying (營志宏) took over the post of convener of the party's decision-making national election and development committee yesterday, replacing Hsieh Chi-ta (謝啟大), who stepped down to take responsibility for the failure.

"The New Party will survive for good and will never be disbanded," Ying told a press conference after a provisional meeting of the committee.

"We will never be discouraged and will continue to work with our volunteers to have the party revitalized. The New Party will stand up again."

Ying said a committee will be established soon to push for reform programs within the troubled party.

The committee will consist not only of party members, but also other independent, well-respected people outside the party.

Ying said the party is well aware of the mistakes it made in the elections, and it has not given up on its efforts to strive for the people and "protect the ROC and keep the ROC flag flying."

The pro-unification New Party won only one legislative seat, in Kinmen, and won only 0.44 percent of the vote in the legislative elections. All seven sitting lawmakers from the party, including Hsieh and Ying, failed in their re-election bids.

According to election laws, only political parties garnering at least five percent of the vote are entitled to government funding and legislator-at-large seats.

Some members led by lawmaker Lai Shyh-bao (賴士葆) and Taipei City Council deputies Lee Hsin (李新) and Lee Ching-yuan (李慶元), have proposed that the party be dismissed in light of its ever-diminishing support base.

Lai has announced that he will quit the party as soon as his term expires in January, but promised that he would not join another party.

A major part of the New Party's support base was taken over by James Soong (宋楚瑜) during last year's presidential race.

A number of the party's politicians have defected to the People First Party since its establishment last year and most succeeded in their legislative bids under the PFP's banner.

Unwilling to see the demise of the New Party, scores of its supporters crowded the party's headquarters to monitor yesterday's meeting and press the party leaders to keep the party going.

Lee Ben-nan (李炳南), who stepped down from his position as the party's secretary-general said the New Party may conduct a reregistration drive for its members.

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