Thu, Jan 06, 2005 - Page 3 News List

DPP looks to end bickering with cross-party talks

TAIPEI , CNA

The acting chairman of the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) said yesterday that inter-party talks will soon begin with its ally the Taiwan Solidarity Union (TSU), as a precursor to expanded discussions with other parties.

Ker Chien-ming (柯建銘) made the remarks as President Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁) met with high-ranking officials and former President Lee Teng-hui (李登輝). Closed-door meetings have been held over the past two days to exchange views on the current political situation.

Ker said the basic view was that there must be an end to the bickering between the ruling and opposition parties through some form of reconciliation, and pointed to Chen's new year's address to the nation, where he entreated all political parties to come together for the benefit of Taiwan.

In the speech, the president said that if something benefits the stability of domestic politics, the welfare of the people, harmony among ethnic groups and cross-strait peace, then it can be discussed between political parties for further cooperation to achieve positive results.

Ker said the DPP will maintain a "parallel and equidistant" relationship with the TSU, the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) and the People First Party (PFP), and will begin to communicate with them as soon as possible.

Since the DPP has cooperated more regularly with the TSU in the past, it will consult with it first, Ker said, adding he will contact TSU acting-chairman Huang Tzung-yuan (黃宗源) to set up a time to meet.

Huang replied he was happy to begin discussions about cooperation and added that the KMT and the PFP also need to come to the table for the sake of political stability.

Meanwhile, Huang Teh-fu (黃德福), a KMT caucus whip in the legislature, said yesterday that political parties can talk among themselves and the president only needs to step in if there is a bottleneck in communications.

Huang Teh-fu said that as president of all the people, Chen should not interfere with DPP party affairs.

He also said he hoped that the offer to communicate better was not being used as a facade to hide the real goal of the DPP -- to drive a wedge between the opposition pan-blue alliance of the KMT and the PFP. Reports have said recently that the DPP will allow the PFP to place some of its officials in the new Cabinet.

Last night, the Executive Yuan decided that it would resign en masse on Jan. 24.

Speculation over the last couple of weeks has centered on the possibility of Chen naming a new premier and forming a coalition Cabinet with opposition parties.

Senior government officials, including Yu himself, have been tightlipped about the imminent Cabinet reshuffle.

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