Fri, May 24, 2002 - Page 3 News List

Ma hoses down DPP-TSU camp

WAR OF WORDS Deflecting DPP comments that former president Lee is a thorn in his side, the mayor shot back, saying the TSU threatens the existence of the DPP

By Lin Mei-chun  /  STAFF REPORTER

Taipei Mayor Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) yesterday targeted the DPP-TSU relationship, suggesting that there is a hidden crisis in the "pan-green" alliance -- as the TSU threatens the existence of the ruling party.

"The TSU is like a thorn in the ruling party's side, because it has so greatly compressed the space of the DPP," Ma said, in reacting to comments from DPP councilors to the effect that former president Lee Teng-hui (李登輝) is like "a thorn in Ma's side in his bid for the year-end mayoral election."

It was an unusually forceful response by Mayor Ma, known for his gentility, to TSU demands for him to take responsibility for the city's water shortage.

Under Lee's tutelage, TSU lawmakers have been pursuing the water issue aggressively. For the past two days, TSU legislators have paid inspection tours to the Feitsui Reservoir, the city's main source of water, to look for flaws in Ma's administration.

Absent from the TSU's latest charges however, was any mention of allegations by Lee, the party's spiritual leader, that the city was involved in a scheme to profit from the generation of power with water from the Feitsui Reservoir, while at the same time faking a water shortage.

Lee made the allegations last Friday while insisting at the time that Ma take full responsibility for the situation.

TSU lawmakers did charge yesterday, however, that they now suspected that the city government implemented water-rationing unnecessarily and that the scheme was carried out merely to embarrass the DPP government.

They also argue that Ma should be blamed for his poor management of water resources, given the fact that water stored in the reservoir, which was thought to be enough for one year of household consumption, was consumed within just four months.

Ma told the city councilors that he has tried to avoid a war of words with Lee, his former mentor, because he preferred to maintain a sense of goodwill.

Ma made the remarks after DPP city councilors said that Ma was elected mayor four years ago largely due to strong backing from Lee.

While stumping for Ma, who is of Chinese origin, Lee once held Ma's hand up, saying he came highly recommended because he represented a role model for the "new Taiwanese."

DPP city councilors said that the reason Ma hasn't responded to Lee's criticisms on the water issue is something voters will have to consider.

In answering, Ma said he was grateful to Lee, since his denunciation was merely a way for the former president to offer his advice and show concern to the next generation of leaders.

Lee's attack on Ma has been interpreted as a concerted effort by the former president to damage the mayor's image and decrease his chances of re-election in the year-end mayoral poll.

Originally taking Ma under his wing as his protege, relations between the two turned sour after Lee was dismissed by the KMT in September last year.

Responding to Ma's comments, TSU lawmaker Chen Chien-ming (陳建銘) suggested that Ma pay more attention to KMT relations with the PFP, as the result of legislative elections last December indicated that the PFP greatly threatens the KMT's existence.

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