Sun, Feb 01, 2004 - Page 3 News List

Pan-blues eager to have several election debates

By Huang Tai-lin  /  STAFF REPORTER

The Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT)-People First Party (PFP) alliance yesterday expressed its eagerness to take part in debates between its presidential and vice presidential candidates and those of the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP).

"We think that debates should be held as soon as possible between the two camps," PFP Legislator Pang Chien-kuo (龐建國) said yesterday at a press conference, adding that it would be "much better if at least 10 rounds of debates can be staged."

The pan-blue alliance made the remarks ahead of today's election debate between the two camps, which is slated to take place at the Howard Plaza Hotel in Taipei.

In addition to the referendum issue, the alliance wants to debate economic and welfare issues, so that the presidential and vice presidential candidates of both camps can make known and argue their stance on these subjects, Pang said.

KMT Chairman Lien Chan (連戰), running with his PFP counterpart James Soong (宋楚瑜), is heading the pan-blue camp's presidential ticket. President Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁) is seeking re-election with Vice President Annette Lu (呂秀蓮).

"Apart from the issue of the referendum, which is mainly being held for the sake of Chen's election campaign, Chen and Lu should also ask the public what issues they care about most and what they really want as the topic of the referendum," Pang said.

Stating that the DPP welcomes the debates, DPP campaign spokesman Wu Nei-jen (吳乃仁) yesterday said that he, along with Taipei County Commissioner Su Tseng-chang (蘇貞昌) and DPP Legislator Cho Jung-tai (卓榮泰), would represent the DPP in today's meeting with the pan-blue alliance to discuss the date, location and format of future debates.

"We hope that the pan-blue camp will send representatives of an equal stature to take part in the negotiations," Wu said.

Su doubles as the DPP's national campaign manager, while Cho also serves as the DPP's national campaign spokesman.

As of press time, it was still unknown who would represent the pan-blue alliance at today's negotiations.

A representative of each of the debate's co-sponsors, including the Liberty Times, United Daily, China Times, Taiwan Daily, the Public Television Service (PTS) and the Taipei Society will also take part in today's negotiations.

The PTS, visited by Taipei Mayor Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) before the start of the Lunar New Year as the pan-blue camp's national campaign manager, will take on the task of organizing a series of forum debates.

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