Sat, Dec 25, 2004 - Page 3 News List

Pan-blue alliance parties should hold talks: KMT official

CNA , TAIPEI

A meeting between the heads of the pan-blue alliance of the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) and the People First Party (PFP) should be held as soon as possible, KMT spokesman Chang Jung-kung (張榮恭) said yesterday.

However, Chang added that the date for such a meeting has not yet been determined, pointing out that the date depends on the schedule of PFP Chairman James Soong (宋楚瑜), who is currently visiting the US. Soong is set to return to Taiwan tomorrow to attend the funeral Monday of Faina Chiang (蔣方良), widow of the late president Chiang Ching-kuo (蔣經國).

Chang said that it is a good thing for both party leaders to meet, adding that "the sooner the better."

Major topics expected to be discussed at such a meeting are a merger of the KMT and its two splinter parties -- the PFP and the New Party, the upcoming speaker and vice speaker elections in the Legislative Yuan, a bill concerning the KMT's assets, the confirmation of 29 nominees for the Control Yuan, and cross-strait relations.

The two leaders are also expected to discuss how to respond to a scheduled ruling Dec. 30 by the Taiwan High Court on a lawsuit they filed to try to have the March 20 presidential election nullified for alleged widespread fraud.

Following the Dec. 11 legislative elections in which the pan-blue alliance surprisingly maintained its majority in the 225-seat Legislative Yuan, supporters of the alliance have called for a quick merger to solidify the opposition force.

However, Soong said right after the elections that the KMT had shut the door on a merger. Although he didn't elaborate, reports said that he and Lien had not been on speaking terms since mid-November because of bickering over the allocation of a more than NT$100 million (US$3.1 million) subsidy for the Lien-Soong ticket in the March 20 presidential election.

Soong was also reportedly dissatisfied that the KMT vote-allocation strategy excluded the PFP legislative candidates in the Dec. 11 elections.

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