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Sat, Jan 26, 2002 - Page 3 News List

Hong's bid for vice speaker runs into heavy opposition

FACTIONAL POLITICS Lawmakers say the DPP's New Tide faction has too much power and don't want to see the job of legislative vice speaker go to Hong Chi-chang

By Lin Mei-chun  /  STAFF REPORTER

Though he appears to have the backing of the president, DPP lawmaker Hong Chi-chang (洪奇昌) is likely to face opposition from within and outside the party in his bid for legislative vice speaker.

Hong is the DPP's most senior lawmaker. President Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁) hinted this week that he favors Hong taking the No. 2 spot in the legislature.

But other DPP lawmakers don't want to see the position go to the New Tide faction member. Hong also faces opposition from TSU legislators-elect.

Hsu Jung-shu (許榮淑), a member of the DPP's New Dynamics faction who had also been eying the post, said Hong is favored for the job so that "balance" between the party's factions can be maintained.

She accused the DPP of horse-trading and said top legislative positions and other party posts had already been decided.

"Shen Fu-hsiung (沈富雄) will be the next DPP chairman, Hong will be the vice speaker of the legislature, and Ker Chien-ming (柯建銘) and Chen Chi-mai (陳其邁) will be the convener and chief executive of the DPP legislative caucus, respectively," Hsu said. "All has been arranged."

Hsu said that the DPP as a democratic party should choose party posts based on an open process that doesn't involve horse-trading.

She said President Chen had never indicated his preference for legislative vice speaker in her several talks with him. Instead, Hsu said, Chen suggested that she discuss the matter with her colleagues.

Hsu also said the candidate for the post should be decided by ballot at a party meeting on Sunday.

Shen said Hsu's attacks were unfair. He said he was also upset that Hong seems set to become the vice speaker candidate, as he also had eyes on the post.

Bid for vice speaker

* Hong Chi-chang appears be favored by President Chen Shui-bian to assume the job of legislative vice speaker.

* Both DPP and TSU lawmakers are concerned about plans to award the post to a New Tide faction member.

* Hsu Jung-shu of the DPP's New Dynamics faction says the candidate for vice speaker should be decided by a ballot at a party meeting on Sunday.

* The Legislative Yuan will choose a speaker and vice speaker on Feb. 1.

Source: Taipei Times

A member of the Justice Alliance faction, Shen said he withdrew from the race "in a bid to keep the party in harmony."

"I am also a victim [of the arrangement]. How could [Hsu] say I was involved in horse-trading with party officials?" he said.

Shen added that he had received phone calls from supporters to protest the candidacy going to Hong.

TSU legislators-elect Liao Pen-yen (廖本煙) and Ho Min-hao (何敏豪) said they wouldn't likely vote for Hong because they dislike the New Tide faction.

Before joining the TSU, Liao and Ho were DPP members. The two say the New Tide faction holds a disproportionate share of important political positions.

The lawmaking body will choose a speaker and vice speaker on Feb. 1 after the newly elected legislators take their oaths of office. Candidates must win at least half of the 225 votes to be elected.

Incumbent legislative speaker Wang Jin-pyng (王金平) is likely to hang on to that job thanks to his cross-party support.

The real contest is for the vice speaker's post. To boost Hong's chances, President Chen plans to host a dinner party for the TSU's 13 legislators-elect on Tuesday.

Hong also met with Shu Chin-chiang (蘇進強), the TSU's secretary-general, yesterday.

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