Sat, Jul 24, 2004 - Page 3 News List

KMT lawmakers banned from joining education program

By Huang Tai-lin  /  STAFF REPORTER

The Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) will ban its legislators from attending a training institute run by independent Legis-lator Sisy Chen (陳文茜), a KMT official said yesterday.

"We will forbid our legislators to take part in [Chen's] school," said KMT Organization and Development Affairs Liao Feng-teh (廖風德).

"Because if we want to train talent, we can offer training through our own National Research Institute," Liao added, referring to the KMT-affiliated institute established to support the party's ideology.

Liao's remarks were made in response to Chen's statement yesterday that she intended to found a political institute sometime next month.

According to Chen, her institute, to be called the Plaza (廣場), would carry out civil education by focusing on the March 19 presidential assassination attempt and on the recount of the March 20 presidential election.

Liao said that as the recount is now in the judicial process and the investigation of the shooting concerns mostly scientific professionals, founding a school cannot solve concerns over these matters.

While the KMT remained reserved with regard to Chen's intention to found an institute, the KMT's sometimes ally, the People First Party (PFP), said it would not forbid its party members from participating in Chen's initiative.

Top PFP Legislator Liu Wen-hsiung (劉文雄) said his party is more than happy to see any individuals devote efforts to investigate the March 19 assassination attempt.

Chen yesterday said that the initial goal of the Plaza is to train 1,000 people "to ponder on various important issues in this society ? and upgrade Taiwan's democratic disposition.

"Through courses relating to such issues, [we will] train citizens to have a better understanding of and insight into these issues and become opinion leaders in their respective social classes," she said.

Chen said she had considered founding a political institute for months, and that originally she had wanted to name it the Democratic School.

"But given that former Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) chairman Hsu Hsin-liang (許信良) had taken that step first and founded a Taiwan Democratic School, I've then decided to name mine the Plaza so that others can differentiate the two," Chen said.

Chen stressed the differences between the two political initiatives, stating that the purpose of the school that Hsu founded on Monday is to train people to take part in the year-end legislative elections, whereas her Plaza will have nothing to do with the elections but will focus on the shooting and the recount.

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