Sat, Jul 05, 2003 - Page 3 News List

Ma tries once more to quash rumors of alliance with DPP

By Debby Wu and Sandy Huang  /  STAFF REPORTERS

Taipei Mayor Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) yesterday again rejected the possibility of a political alliance between himself and the DPP, in response to a report by a major newspaper saying the DPP campaign strategy for next year is to become friendly with Ma.

"There can be no collaboration when two parties have different viewpoints. The difference between my stand and the DPP's is understandable," said Ma.

Ma's intention and allegiance has been publicly debated ever since a joint ticket with President Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁) for next year's general election was proposed. After Premier Yu Shyi-kun responded kindly to Taipei City's financial requests by granting it an amount of more than NT$40 billion two days ago, some saw it as a DPP effort to solicit Ma's support.

Ma, however, dismissed any connection between he and the DPP. He said that it was only natural that the central government would support local governments when necessary, no matter which party was in power.

"Yu would not be expecting my cooperation with Chen after handing out the money," Ma said.

"My first priority is Taipei City affairs. I would support anything that is beneficial to the city's citizens. I will of course support the central government in its willingness to deliver more financial help to the local government but my support for the KMT candidates will not decrease. These two things are not in conflict with each other."

When asked whether the DPP would manipulate the electorate by saying to vote DPP is to show support for Ma, thereby assuring that Ma did not have to wait until 2012 to become Taiwan's president, Ma said, "there should not be any such concerns. Those who support me are not unintelligent."

Meanwhile, several pan-blue camp luminaries last night shared a stage at an event celebrating the impending announcement by the World Health Organization (WHO) that Taiwan is SARS-free.

Taiwan is the only country left on the list of SARS-affected areas. If no new cases are reported, health officials expect the WHO to remove the country from the list today.

Among the line-up of entertainers ranging from pop singers to dancers, pan-blue heavyweights such as KMT Chairman Lien Chan (連戰) and PFP Chairman James Soong (宋楚瑜) appeared on stage. Ma also showed off his singing skills.

The event, held in the square in front of Taipei City Hall, was sponsored by television station CTV.

"Taipei citizens have been suppressed for too long [because of the SARS outbreak]," Ma said. "Via this big-scale outdoor event, we hope to provide a venue where people can loosen up and enjoy themselves in the post-SARS era."

Unless other cases are reported today, Taiwan will have gone 20 straight days without a new SARS infection, thereby meeting the final requirement for removal from the WHO's list of affected countries.

In a WHO statement released yesterday, Director General Gro Harlem Brundtland was reported to be ready to declare Taiwan free of SARS later today.

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