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Sun, Feb 24, 2002 - Page 3 News List

Wang says DPP sticks together

The election of DPP lawmaker Wang Tuoh as the party's legislative whip surprised many, as he had been quite a loner since his Formosa faction disbanded. Wang's recent decision to join the Justice Alliance has caused some to brand him an opportunist. Wang recently spoke with 'Taipei Times' staff reporter Crystal Hsu, on factional wrangling within the ruling party

Taipei Times: How will you divide responsibility with the two other whips Ker Chien-ming (柯建銘) and Hsu Jung-shu (許榮淑), who has complained about being estranged by you and Ker?

Wang Tuoh (王拓): As executive of the caucus, I will be in charge of coordinating caucus members and negotiating with opposition parties on policy issues and acting as an interface with the media on caucus affairs.

Ker, the caucus convener, is known for his finesse in handling interpersonal relationships. As head of the caucus, he can do everything or nothing as he sees fit.

The caucus secretary-general, Hsu, on the other hand, will serve as a bridge between the Cabinet and the caucus, conveying the former's intentions to the latter so the two can join forces in achieving policy goals. This is a very important responsibility, as we all know that the caucus and Cabinet did not always agree in the last two years. In addition, Hsu will be given the task of promoting parliamentary diplomacy -- which I think is equally challenging.

I know that not all are happy about the arrangement, but I believe the discontent will soon subside. I expect a heavy workload ahead, and both Ker and Hsu have a lot of work to tend to. You will have to ask Hsu why she described her post as "unwanted."

TT: How do you respond to charges leveled by fellow colleague Lin Chung-mo (林重謨) that you recently joined the Justice Alliance with an eye to jockeying for power?

Wang: Lin was a junior member in the alliance himself. As a matter of fact, I briefly joined the Justice Alliance years ago at the invitation of its founder [President and then-lawmaker] Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁) when inter-factional membership was allowed.

Later when the practice was forbidden, I chose to stay with the now-defunct Formosa faction, as former DPP chairman Hsu Hsin-liang (許信良) was a good friend of mine. Lin played no part during this episode. I admired his frankness but believe he can use more caution in his speeches.

TT: When did you join the Justice Alliance and why?

Wang: I was very much a loner after the Formosa faction disbanded following Hsu Hsin-liang's breakaway. Toward the end of last legislative session, I joined the Justice Alliance, encouraged by its members Tsai Huang-liang (蔡煌瑯) and Chen Chi-mai (陳其邁). They are like nephews to me.

In the meantime, the New Tide faction also sought to recruit me. Honestly speaking, I was quite attracted to the New Tide's devotion to policy study, its effective organization and rigid discipline. But I turned down the offer in the end because I know I am not good at following orders.

Still, I am indebted to the New Tide for giving 16 of its 20 votes for my election as legislative whip. That is all I got during the election, as the Justice Alliance had pledged support for fellow colleague Chen Chi-mai, the president's favored choice for caucus leader.

TT: How come Chen Chi-mai lost the election when the Justice Alliance, with 36 members, is the largest faction?

Wang: Chen Chi-mai lost the election partly because members angry with the president took it out on him and partly because fellow senior member Shen Fu-hsiung (沈富雄) was also eyeing the post.

Shen, who sought unsuccessfully to run for vice speaker, has slipped into a state of uncertainty about his political ambition. It was I that persuaded him to drop out of the race [for caucus leaders] to ease factional rivalry. By that time it was too late for Chen Chi-mai to muster support.

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