Fri, Jan 07, 2005 - Page 3 News List

Lee hovers as TSU eyes elections

I'LL BE BACK The former president has decided to increase his say in TSU affairs, offering informal services as a counselor in addition to a 'spiritual' role

By Debby Wu  /  STAFF REPORTER

Former president Lee Teng-hui, at rear, meets Taiwan Solidarity Union legislators and legislators-elect yesterday at his home in Taipei.

PHOTO: CHIEN JUNG-FENG, TAIPEI TIMES

The Taiwan Solidarity Union (TSU) will compete in elections for city mayors and county commissioners at the end of the year, former president Lee Teng-hui (李登輝) said yesterday, while repeating his intention to become more involved in party affairs.

Eight outgoing and incoming TSU lawmakers visited Lee at noon at his residence in the Tsui Villa complex in Taipei yesterday, where they discussed party affairs for nearly two hours.

"We will certainly not miss out on the elections for mayor and county commissioner this year," TSU acting chairman Huang Tsung-yuan (黃宗源) said after the meeting.

Huang also floated a few potential candidates, including Legislator Chien Lin Hui-chien (錢林慧君) from Tainan City, and Legislator Chen Chien-ming (陳建銘) from Taipei County, both of whom failed in their re-election bids last month.

Huang said the TSU would negotiate with the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) before the registration process began so that there would be no pan-green camp infighting.

"Off his own bat, President Lee also said, `how about I become the TSU's counselor,'" Huang said.

Huang said that Lee was eager to become more involved in TSU affairs and agreed to meet top officials at least once every one or two months if asked.

Huang added that Lee was hoping for more comprehensive party development and engagement with the community.

He said the TSU should work more closely with civic groups and think tanks such as Taiwan Advocates and the Lee Teng-hui School to improve its regional connections.

According to Huang, Lee recommended that Su Chin-chiang (蘇進強) become TSU chairman, and said he would be present at the inauguration ceremony for the new chairman.

Chen, who also serves as TSU secretary-general, said that the new chairman would be approved by the central executive committee on Monday.

The lawmakers said that Lee had restated his support for the idea of party-to-party negotiations with the pan-blue camp, as proposed by President Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁) in an attempt to create space for negotiation and reconciliation in a hostile political climate.

Lee had also approved of the notion of a coalition Cabinet, the lawmakers said.

When asked if this meant that the TSU would support the president nominating People First Party (PFP) Chairman James Soong (宋楚瑜) as premier, Huang answered, "of course."

Chen Chien-ming said that Lee had expressed concerns that charges for national health insurance, water and electricity should not be raised until after the government had attempted to cut spending.

"According to the principles of late president Chiang Ching-kuo (蔣經國), the government should avoid raising rates for basic necessities and instead try to absorb the extra costs," Chen quoted Lee as saying.

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