Sun, Dec 12, 2004 - Page 3 News List

Speakership a sure thing, but not for Wang Jin-pyng

By Debby Wu  /  STAFF REPORTER

The pan-green camp's disappointing performance in the legislative elections means that the pan-blue camp is certain to once again control the legislative speakership, although whether or not the incumbent Legislative Speaker and Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) Vice Chairman Wang Jin-pyng (王金平) will win a third term remains unclear.

As the KMT, People First Party (PFP) and New Party netted a total of 114 seats -- one seat more than is needed for a majority -- there is no doubt of the pan-blue camp's ability to retain the speakership. But whether Wang will keep his job as legislative speaker remains uncertain in view of the planned pan-blue merger. New Party or PFP legislators may haggle for the position, arguing that influence needs to be spread out among the pan-blue parties.

"It is difficult to say anything about the race for the legislative speakership now," PFP caucus whip Liu Wen-hsiung (劉文雄) said, refusing to openly support Wang when pressed.

"What is certain is that the pan-blue camp will retain the speakership," Liu said.

Taipei Society chairman Hong Yu-hung (洪裕宏) also said that Wang's re-election was not 100 percent certain.

Although the PFP lost 10 seats in yesterday's legislative elections, PFP Chairman James Soong (宋楚瑜) said he considered PFP to be a "decisive minority party," and his refusal to talk about the merger before the election was exactly because he would have more leverage after the election.

"The PFP considers Wang as former president Lee Teng-hui's (李登輝) acolyte, so there is friction between the PFP and Wang," Hong said.

"Although the speakership will remain in the pan-blue camp, it is difficult to say whether Wang himself will remain the speaker," he added.

It is also unknown whether Deputy Speaker and KMT Vice Chairman Chiang Pin-kun (江丙坤) will remain Wang's partner after KMT Chairman Lien Chan (連戰) remarked that with a pan-blue majority, the KMT would recommend Chiang as the next premier.

It is also possible the PFP will demand the KMT relinquish the deputy speakership position if they ask for the PFP's support in the race. With the pan-green camp still capable of putting up a candidate for the job, a hard-fought political battle is likely.

Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Secretary-General Chang Chun-hsiung (張俊雄), the DPP's potential legislative speakership candidate, simultaneously resigned his party membership and his shoe-in legislator-at-large seat after the election results were published last night.

Chang promised before the election that if the pan-green camp did not win a majority, he would resign his legislator-at-large seat.

DPP caucus whip Tsai Huang-liang (蔡煌瑯) said it is now difficult for the DPP to win in the race.

"The pan-blues have won a majority ... this is a great obstacle for the pan-green camp to win in the race for legislative speaker," Tsai said.

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