Legislator quiet oncoalition proposal

MAJORITY PROPOSAL: The Legislative Yuan's vice speaker is reportedly considering to bring up a motion at the economic conference on whether the majority party at the year-end elections should form a coalition

By Joyce Huang  /  STAFF REPORTER

Sat, Aug 25, 2001 - Page 4

Vice Speaker of the Legislative Yuan Yao Eng-chi (饒穎奇) was yesterday reported to be preparing to propose a motion at the Economic Development Advisory Conference (EDAC) to vote on whether a coalition government should be formed by the party which emerges from the legislative election as the majority party.

Such a motion would echo KMT Chairman Lien Chan's (連戰) remarks on Wednesday that President Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁) should reconsider the possibility of forming a coalition government next February.

Yao, however, yesterday refused to confirm that he was preparing to move such a motion but said, "The time is not ripe yet." But KMT spokesman Justin Chou (周守訓) ignited the issue saying, "The proposal conforms to the KMT's long-held stance, aiming to pursue the country's political stability."

Chou also said that Lien had openly urged the DPP government to abide by the constitution, put an end to the current minority government, and implement the dual-head system of government, whereby the premier is nominated from the majority party or alliance.

Chou said that Chen should explain the conditions under which he would form a coalition government before the year-end elections so as not to trigger further political struggles.

Expressing disagreement, DPP legislative whip Tsai Huang-liang (蔡煌瑯) yesterday said that the KMT's proposal would be a violation of the constitution.

"If the KMT moves to discuss the proposal, it will be an obvious infringement of the president's right [to appoint the premier]," Tsai said.

Urging the opposition parties to respect the president's rights, Taiwan Solidarity Union spokesman Su Chin-chang (蘇進強) complained that both the KMT and the People First Party (PFP) had attempted to have the conference, which is concerned with economics, address the political proposal.

"It's very clear that they [both parties] want to play the leading role in the economic conference," Su said yesterday.

Su said that the DPP is not likely to partner any other political parties to form a coalition Cabinet, "unless the DPP loses heavily in the year-end legislative elections."

He was also pessimistic about likely cooperation between the KMT and the PFP.

Su said that the plan appeared to be hampered by many difficulties arising from the two parties' local-level electoral cooperation. He said that this diminished the likelihood that the KMT and PFP would cooperate well at central government level.

Though PFP leader James Soong (宋楚瑜) had previously said, "the party would like to ally with any party to jointly establish a coalition government," the director of the party's policy department Chang Hsien-yao (張顯耀) yesterday attempted to soften the party's stance, saying it needed further discussion to decide whether it would throw its support behind the KMT's proposal.

On Wednesday, Soong's remarks immediately drew severe criticism from the New Party, which said that Soong was short-sightedly eyeing electoral benefits regardless of the wider opposition alliance's political vision.

Tsai yesterday said that he agreed with another proposal of Lien's -- to conduct inter-party negotiations after the economic conference has finished.

He said that such negotiations would help facilitate the legislation of all the economic proposals reached at the economic conference and accelerate their implementation.