Sun, Jun 27, 2004 - Page 3 News List

Pan-blue legislators express doubts about alliance

NOT SO FAST Lien Chan and James Soong have big ideas about how to approach the legislative elections together, but some of the people in the trenches aren't so excited

By Debby Wu  /  STAFF REPORTER

While the pan-blue leadership has expressed enthusiasm about forming an alliance for December's legislative elections, some pan-blue legislators expressed reservations yesterday about the plan.

People First Party (PFP) Chairman James Soong (宋楚瑜) revealed two days ago that he and Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) Chairman Lien Chan (連戰) had met in secret to discuss the feasibility of forming an alliance, as an alternative to officially merging the two parties right away.

Legislators-at-large

It was reported that Lien and Soong discussed including all opposition forces in the alliance; campaign jointly; and cooperating on nominating legislator-at-large candidates so as to win more legislator-at-large seats.

Also in support of the idea of an alliance is New Party Chairman Yok Mu-ming (郁慕明), who, while announcing candidates for the legislature yesterday, said that it should not be difficult for the KMT, the PFP and the New Party to reach consensus on forming an alliance.

Some pan-blue legislators, however, expressed doubts yesterday about the feasibility of cooperating on the legislative elections.

KMT Legislator Hsu Shu-po (許舒博), a pro-localization lawmaker from Yunlin County, said that the party leaders' ideas about vote allocation were not feasible in rural areas because voters in those areas tended to vote not so much for political parties as for familiar individual candidates.

Rural areas

"In farming communities, voters cast their ballots for a certain candidate because that candidate has established connections with them. The party to which the candidate belongs is not the primary consideration for these voters.

"Vote allocation may be feasible in urban areas but in rural areas it is not possible," he said.

"If we really campaign as an alliance, our strategy needs to be adjusted in certain areas, and not just carried out the same way all over," Hsu said.

Different stands

"For the alliance to be responsible for nominating legislators-at-large is simply not viable. If we really go ahead with this idea, then what will happen when the parties have different stands on a certain bill and have to vote on the bill in a sitting? How should these legislators-at-large vote?" Hsu asked.

Legislator Yang Li-huan (楊麗環) of Taoyuan County also expressed doubts about the idea of forming an alliance.

"On the surface, all the talk about forming an alliance makes it seem that all is well between the pan-blue parties. But actually there are many disagreements about how efforts carried out together by the parties would be conducted," Yang said.

Lip service

"The alliance sounds ideal, but it would actually be difficult to achieve. The pan-blue parties have not become any more united since the presidential election, and cooperation like that being discussed cannot succeed with mere lip service," Yang said.

Yang also said that the pan-blue camp needed to control the number of nominations it made for regional legislators.

PFP legislators also urged caution about the alliance.

"There are too many different opinions about the merger within the pan-blue parties, so an alliance is a better solution for the moment," Legislator Diane Lee (李慶安) said.

"But how the alliance will be structured, and what sorts of strategies would be used for campaigning jointly, need to be discussed more," Lee said.

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