Tue, Jun 25, 2002 - Page 3 News List

TSU may gain up to five new members

SWITCH If the KMT expels several members for refusing to participate in the party's boycott of last week's ballot, the `pan-green' camp may gain a few more legislators

By Lin Mei-chun  /  STAFF REPORTER

The TSU is poised to expand its legislative power if three KMT legislators -- who might be expelled from the KMT for voting in defiance of party orders during last week's confirmation vote -- decide to defect.

TSU lawmakers confirmed yesterday that they are negotiating with at least three KMT lawmakers, who could very likely be dismissed from the party because they ignored party directives by entering the legislative chamber to cast their votes last Thursday and Friday.

"We will approach whoever shares our political ideology because it will fulfill people's expectations if the political scene is stabilized [through the expansion of the `pan-green' camp]," said Lo Chih-ming (羅志明), a leader of the TSU's legislative caucus.

To achieve that, the KMT is not the only TSU target.

Besides KMT lawmakers Chen Ken-te (陳根德), Lin Pin-kuan (林炳坤) and Lu Shin-ming (呂新民), Lo said that the party was also in touch with independent lawmakers Kao Meng-ting (高孟定) and Hung Chao-nan (洪昭男).

Lo said Chen and Lu are long-term friends of some TSU lawmakers and Hong is known for having a close relationship with TSU chairman Huang Chu-wen (黃主文).

The TSU lawmaker said all three have expressed a willingness to join the TSU's legislative caucus if they were expelled by the KMT, but they would wait until today when the KMT announces its decision.

In a bid to reject eight high-level governmental officials appointed by the president, the KMT barred its legislators from entering the legislative chamber to boycott the vote.

The KMT said that entering the legislative chamber itself was tantamount to breaking party regulations regardless of whether the voters cast a "yes" or "no" ballot.

Ten KMT legislators run the risk of being dismissed by the party because they insisted on voting.

Yao Chia-wen (姚嘉文), who encountered opposition from the KMT and PFP, was able to secure enough ballots to become the head of the Examination Yuan.

Once ridiculed for lacking grit in dealing with members challenging the party's principle, the KMT has decided to demonstrate its resolve to reform this time by resorting to stricter punishment. It is widely believed that at least five out of the 10 will be expelled from the party.

None of the KMT lawmakers named by the TSU acknowledged that they had been in touch with the TSU about possible defection.

But Chen Ken-te told the Taipei Times that he would join any party "who makes the people's interests its top priority."

He said he isn't afraid of facing punishment because his party has gone against the public will, but he added that he thinks he did nothing wrong by exercising his right to vote for qualified candidates.

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