Offering a conditional olive branch to the Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁) administration, Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) Chairman Lien Chan (連戰) yesterday said that should the president be willing to make certain concessions regarding a controversial NT$610.8 billion arms budget and Taiwan's national title, the KMT and the pan-blue alliance would work with the administration to push forward policy initiatives.
Speaking at a rally in Taoyuan celebrating the 110th anniversary of the KMT's founding, Lien told supporters that the KMT was willing to help the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) administration in two main areas, in the interests of answering the public's wishes for stability and unity.
halve arms budget
Lien urged the Chen administration to cut the value of a controversial NT$610.8 billion arms purchase deal in half.
The NT$610.8 billion arms purchase special budget has met with heavy resistance from social groups and opposition parties since the Cabinet proposed it earlier this year. Up until now, the government has been unable to pass the statute allowing it to form special budget proposals and the budget plan itself through the legislature's Procedure Committee, which decides the agenda for each legislative sitting. It has been unclear whether the statute and budget will be able to gain enough pan-blue support to enter the legislative agenda once the legislature reconvenes after the legislative elections.
Should the DPP and Chen cut the budget by NT$300 billion, Lien promised that the pan-blue camp would allow the special budget to enter the legislature and expedite its review with all possible speed as soon as the legislative elections were over.
Lien also said that should the Chen administration agree to undergo an open and just evaluation by the 319 Special Truth Investigation Committee, not hinder the committee's operations, and not use political pressure to affect the nation's justice system, the pan-blue camp would accept the findings of the committee and the judicial system."
Lien further reiterated his call for the Chen administration to hold a referendum on independence, in order to highlight the danger the administration's pro-independence tendencies pose to the nation.
Lien criticized the Chen administration for creating social instability with moves such as his recent talk of a "soft coup." Because of the DPP's selfish determination to monopolize government branches and solidify its political power, it has sacrificed the interests of the Taiwanese people, Lien said. As result, it is crucial that the pan-blue camp win a majority in the year-end legislative elections, he said, touching on the theme of last night's rally.
With only two weeks left before the legislative elections on Dec. 11, the anniversary celebration last night also served as a rally for the party's legislative hopefuls in Taoyuan, Miaoli and Hsinchu, with KMT heavyweights such as Taipei City Mayor Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) and Legislative Speaker Wang Jin-pyng (王金平) calling for a pan-blue majority in the year-end elections.
Throughout the celebration, there was little mention of the agreement between the KMT and People First Party (PFP) to sign an official declaration of intent about merging the two parties in February.
Media reports had identified the KMT's anniversary as a potential date for the parties' representatives to sign the merger agreement.