Wed, Feb 26, 2003 - Page 3 News List

Sisy Chen and Wu Cherng-dean join PFP caucus

By Crystal Hsu  /  STAFF REPORTER

Independent lawmaker Sisy Chen (陳文茜) and New Party colleague Wu Cherng-dean (吳成典) agreed yesterday to join the PFP legislative caucus, a move that will give the opposition camp a slight majority in the legislature.

Both lawmakers said a shared desire to prevent partisan rows from paralyzing the Legislative Yuan prompted them to side with the PFP caucus, which will now be able to win an extra seat in the Procedure Committee as a result of its increased size.

"Oftentimes, partisan feuding starts in the Procedure Committee that sets the legislature's agenda," Chen told reporters.

"Its 36 seats would be equally divided between the ruling and opposition camps if I didn't join either side," she said.

By aligning herself with the PFP, Chen said she can better push for policy initiatives she cares about and help enhance overall legislative efficiency.

One initiative she wants to push this legislative session is a proposal to deprive the Department of Health of the power to adjust national health insurance fees.

She said she will also keep a close eye on the Taiwan High Speed Railway project, which she thinks has been sponging off of the state coffers.

Chen insists she will remain an "independent."

"I will not take part in internal PFP activities nor assume any position in its 2004 presidential campaign," she said.

Echoing Chen's stance, Wu said he hoped his joining the PFP caucus can give the pan-blue camp an upper hand in the Procedure Committee and the legislature as a whole.

"Without affiliation to any legislative caucus, I acted like a guerrilla in the last two sessions," he said. "By working with the PFP, I hope to better serve my constituents on Kinmen."

The New Party lawmaker said he was also motivated by a desire to help bolster the joint effort by the KMT and the PFP to unseat President Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁) next year.

The KMT and PFP now hold 112 seats in the 223-member legisl-ature, whose size has dropped by two seats following the death of PFP Legislator Hsieh Chun-hui (謝鈞惠) and the resignation of DPP Legislator Chou Po-lun (周伯倫), who recently began serving a prison sentence for corruption.

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