The absence of Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) Legislative Speaker Wang Jin-pyng (王金平) from the pan-blue camp's demonstration yesterday added to the mounting buzz that the pro-localization faction within the KMT is getting tired of the recent protests, which have largely been driven by People First Party (PFP) hard-liners.
Many pan-blue supporters consider Wang, a seasoned politician from Kaohsiung County, to be the key representative of the KMT's pro-localization faction. He is largely regarded as one of the pan-blue camp's four most prominent heavyweights, along with KMT Chairman Lien Chan (連戰), PFP Chairman James Soong (宋楚瑜) and Taipei Mayor Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九). Wang is one of the KMT's vice chairmen, as well as the chief campaign manager of the KMT-PFP alliance's campaign headquarters.
Although Wang's reason for not attending yesterday's demonstration -- where Lien, Soong and Ma addressed the crowd at the Chiang Kai-shek Memorial Hall -- was that he had a prior commitment outside Taipei, some legislators have offered different explanations.
Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Legislator Chen Chin-jun (
"The pressure on Wang is understandable, given his relations with former president Lee Teng-hui (
Wang's pro-localization image stance led to him maintaining amicable relations with Lee.
"Wang also shoulders pressure from his supporters in the south, where people are known for their pro-localization support," Chen said.
Wang was not the only member of the KMT's pro-localization faction who failed to attend the demonstration. Legislators Chen Hung-chang (
While stressing their loyalty to the KMT, several members of the party's pro-localization faction have expressed disapproval over the extended demonstrations staged by the alliance.
"The demonstrations have been carrying on for more than a week. The general public should be well-informed about our appeals by now," Chen Hung-chang said. "The alliance should leave now while everything is still looking good."
The KMT-PFP alliance have been organizing demonstrations at the Presidential Office since March 21 following the narrow defeat of the joint Lien-Soong ticket.
Protesters relocated to the memorial a week ago to continue what the alliance claimed would be a "long-term protest" until their demands were met for a recount and independent investigations into the attack on President Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁) and Vice President Annette Lu (呂秀蓮), as well as the activation of the national security mechanism following the attack.
Among the pan-blue politicians taking turns addressing the protesters, PFP legislators spent noticeably more time behind the microphone. The KMT's pro-localization members kept a relatively low profile.
"Continuing to drag out the demonstrations will have an affect on the party's outlook in the year-end legislative elections," Chen Hung-chang said.
As the presidential election is over, the KMT and PFP should go their separate ways, seeing that they have different political goals, he said.
KMT Legislator Yu Yueh-hsia (
A Chinese-language newspaper yesterday reported that the pro-localization faction within the KMT has voiced support for Wang as the party's future chairman and proposed that he and Ma run on a joint ticket in the 2008 presidential election.
PFP Legislator Liu Wen-hsiung (
"If [Chen Hung-chang] is not happy [about the cooperation between the KMT and the PFP,] he should leave the pan-blue camp, rather than staying around and making all these statements," Liu said.
PFP Legislator Lee Yong-ping (
"His remarks represent only his lack of confidence within the KMT," Lee said.
Given that high-ranking officials from both the KMT and the PFP have started making joint plans for the nomination of candidates in the year-end legislative elections, remarks from dissenting pan-blue legislators suggest that conflicts between the two parties are set to surface as the elections draw closer.
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