Sat, Aug 23, 2003 - Page 4 News List

Lien courts the New Party

By Sandy Huang  /  STAFF REPORTER

In a bid to ensure pan-blue unity in the run-up to next year's presidential election, KMT Chairman Lien Chan (連戰) yesterday attended the 10th anniversary celebrations of the New Party.

"To realize a second transfer of power next year, we all should work together in absolute sincerity and good faith in a united pan-blue campaign," Lien said at the New Party's headquarters.

The New Party broke away from the KMT in 1993, led by people such as Yok Mu-ming (郁慕明) and Wang Chien-shien, who accused the KMT under the leadership of then-president and KMT chairman Lee Teng-hui (李登輝) of blocking reform of the party and the nation.

Lien was accompanied to the celebrations by Tsai Chung-hsiung (蔡鐘雄), secretary-general of the PFP, another KMT splinter party that is setting aside its differences to take on the DPP for the election in March next year.

Tsai was representing PFP Chairman James Soong (宋楚瑜), who was KMT secretary-general when the New Party was formed.

All three parties are now cooperating in the election campaign, in which Lien is running for president and Soong vice president.

Lien yesterday accused the DPP administration of destabilizing society and inciting confrontation by toying with political ideologies and ethnic issues.

He contrasted the ruling party with the New Party, which he said had upheld its belief in safeguarding the nation's Constitution, social justice and cross-strait stability.

"In the 10 years since it was founded, the New Party has been firm in its beliefs and a loyal follower of Sun Yat-sen's (孫中山) doctrines," Lien said.

"The party is against black gold, Taiwan's independence and cross-strait instability, which is the same direction the KMT is heading in," Lien said.

In its infancy, the New Party was quite successful, winning 22 seats in the Legislative Yuan. But it quickly lost its appeal and became marginalized by the late 1990s. It now holds just one legislative seat.

Many of its founders, including Wang, Jaw Shaw-kong (趙少康) and Chou Chuan (周荃), have since retired from politics.

Although the New Party has lost much of its significance, the KMT and PFP have been courting its members to ensure its bid for the presidency gets all the help it can.

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