Mon, Dec 13, 2004 - Page 2 News List

`Door is shut' on pan-blue merger, PFP chairman says

STAFF REPORTER , WITH CNA

People First Party (PFP) Chairman James Soong (宋楚瑜) yesterday said the door for his party's merger with the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) has been shut.

Adding to opposition to the move, PFP Vice Chairman Chang Chao-hsiung (張昭雄) said that a PFP-KMT merger "has become impossible."

Soong and Chang made the remarks in Tainan on a trip to greet supporters and thank them for their support of the party in Saturday's legislative elections.

The PFP lost 12 seats from the 46 it obtained in 2001 legislative elections.

When asked whether the PFP would merge with the KMT as the two parties had pledged before the election, Soong was reluctant to talk about it, only saying, "the KMT has shut the door."

Chang said the KMT had campaigned for independent candidates such as Cheng Li-wen (鄭麗文) and Su Ying-kuei (蘇盈貴) in Kaohsiung, but had develop a defensive approach toward PFP candidates.

When Soong went to Hsinchu to solicit support from residents in military areas, he was blocked from entering those areas controlled by the KMT's Huang Fu-hsing (黃復興) headquarters, Chang said.

"That proves the KMT is not sincere about the merger plan," Chang said.

"Many PFP candidates lost the election by a thin margin due to a lack of cross-party cooperation. As such, the two parties can only cooperate under a general direction with no possibility of a merger," Chang said.

Also on a trip to Kaohsiung to thank voters for their support, Soong yesterday complained about the "cold-blooded" treatment he had received from the KMT during the legislative election campaign.

"I don't intend to return to the KMT as a No. 2. I simply want to be myself and stick to my ideals," Soong told supporters in Kaohsiung.

Soong said the PFP will continue to cooperate with the KMT in defending the existence of the Republic of China, maintaining cross-strait peace, asserting ethnic harmony and prevent the nation from moves toward independence and unification.

As for issues that concerns party cooperation, the PFP will not blindly follow the KMT's pace, but will take into consideration whether the issues will benefits for the people, he said. Soong further said that the PFP will push for reform to revitalize the party.

"I understand very well that the PFP can depend on no one but itself," he said.

Soong said his decision to team up with KMT Chairman Lien Chan (連戰) for the March presidential election was overshadowed by the fact that his party was marginalized and subordinated to the KMT.

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