Mon, Jul 26, 2004 - Page 3 News List

DPP whip to visit Lee Teng-hui

SPECULATION Suspicions run high that what Ker Chien-ming wants is the former president's support of his potential bid for the legislative speakership

By Debby Wu  /  STAFF REPORTER

Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) caucus whip Ker Chien-ming (柯建銘) will visit former president Lee Teng-hui (李登輝) on July 29 to discuss the promotion of Taiwanese culture, a DPP legislator said yesterday.

DPP Legislator Lin Chung-mo (林重謨) said yesterday that he and with Ker would visit Lee on Thursday.

"We have had the notion of promoting Taiwanese opera and Taiwanese culture for a long time, and just recently we finally managed to arrange a meeting with Lee to discuss the matter," Lin said.

Lin said that the exact time and place of the meeting would be confirmed today.

Ker was not available for comment yesterday.

angling for support?

The media had reported that Ker, a possible candidate for the legislative speakership, meant to seek Lee's support in his race for legislative speaker by paying him the visit. Legislative Speaker Wang Jin-pyng (王金平) visited Lee few days ago.

It is widely believed that Wang's meeting with Lee focused on the Chinese Nationalist Party's (KMT) future and chairmanship, with Lee once again encouraging Wang to strive for the chairmanship and lead the KMT to become a pro-localization party and to monitor the governing party effectively.

Lee was most concerned with the nation's future, and although he also talked about possible political changes after the legislative election, the meeting in fact had little to do with the competition for the legislative speakership.

contempt

Taiwan Solidarity Union (TSU) Legislator Cheng Cheng-lung (程振隆), who knows Lee well, yesterday showed contempt for the report that Ker's visit is intended to secure support for the legislative speakership.

"According to my understanding of Lee, it is impossible for him to discuss the legislative speakership with anyone now since it is too early. There is no knowing what will happen with the legislative elections yet, let alone the legislative speakership," Cheng said.

"If they [Lin and Ker] wanted to see Lee because of the legislative speakership issue, Lee would refuse to receive them," Cheng said.

the tsu factor

It is widely believed that the TSU's support is necessary for a candidate to win the speakership, for the TSU may hold enough seats after the legislative election to swing the final result.

Within the DPP, the likely candidates include Ker, pro-independence veteran Legislator Trong Tsai (蔡同榮) and New Tide faction (新潮流) Legislator Hong Chi-chang (洪奇昌).

But it has been rumored that President Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁) may choose to nominate DPP Secretary-General Chang Chun-hsiung (張俊雄) as a legislator-at-large so that he can run for the speakership on behalf of the DPP.

On the other hand, Wang is likely to run for the speakership again on behalf of the pan-blue camp next year.

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