Wed, Dec 15, 2004 - Page 3 News List

Lien Chan hopes to tackle cooperation in opposition camp

CNA , TAIPEI

Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) Chairman Lien Chan (連戰) hopes to meet with People First Party (PFP) Chairman James Soong (宋楚瑜) and New Party Chairman Yok Mu-ming (郁慕明) this week to try to resolve possible misunderstandings and discuss the cooperation in the pan-blue camp, KMT officials said yesterday.

The officials made the remarks amid reports that despite a call for the merger of the three parties after the pan-blue camp gained more seats than expected in Saturday's legislative elections to maintain its majority, Lien and Soong had not spoken to each other since the middle of last month because of bickering over the allocation of more than NT$100 million in subsidies for ballots garnered by the "Lien-Soong" ticket in the presidential election.

Soong was also angry about the KMT's vote-allocation scheme, which sidelined the PFP in the legislative elections. The KMT and all eight but one of the New Party's candidates ran under the banner of the KMT, garnering 79 seats while the PFP slipped 12 seats to 34 seats from the previous elections. The New Party had one seat.

The officials said that the KMT and the PFP have been busy since the legislative elections, and that they are still arranging for a meeting of the three chairmen.

Meanwhile, Wang Jin-pyng (王金平), speaker of the Legislative Yuan and a KMT vice chairman, said that the KMT and the PFP are like brothers. Even if there is no merger, they should at least cooperate.

PFP Legislator Liu Wen-hsiung (劉文雄) said that a merger should not be entered into for the sake of merging, and it should not be done to expand a "certain party." When the opposition forces can bring the people hope and the atmosphere and environment are right, then it will be time to talk about a merger.

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