Kaohsiung Mayor Frank Hsieh (謝長廷) confirmed yesterday that the ruling Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) is "communicating" with the second-largest opposition People First Party (PFP) about party-to-party cooperation and the DPP will announce any breakthroughs.
Hsieh also said that "communicating" with the PFP is for the sake of "political stability," and that PFP Chairman James Soong (宋楚瑜) has not made any demands for the party to hold any specific government positions.
The mayor spoke as the DPP and the PFP parties are appearing to move toward a partnership amid reports that they could even form a coalition government.
Hsieh said that the president's effort to build bridges of trust between parties is not limited to only the PFP and could also include the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT).
Asked whether the new cooperative spirit will start with the election of the next speaker of the new Legislative Yuan on Feb. 1, Hsieh said reconciliation between parties should not be about who gets what post so that the process does not get mired in political horse-trading.
Instead of haggling over trading posts, Hsieh said party-to-party cooperation is about sharing responsibility and divvying up the work. However, he said that it is only natural that some positions be assigned according to a deference to political affiliation.
The former DPP chairman also said that the president stated clearly in his new year's speech that anything can be discussed between parties that is beneficial to the stability of domestic politics, creates harmony between ethnic groups, increases public welfare and improves cross-strait relations.
A DPP party whip in the Legislative Yuan echoed Hsieh's words, saying that President Chen Shui-bian's (陳水扁) advocacy of party-to-party dialogue is for the sake of domestic politics and "to try to unify a splintered country."
It is by no means an attempt to drive a wedge between the "pan-blue alliance" of the KMT and the PFP, as reports quoting KMT high-ranking officials have said, Lee Chun-yi (李俊毅) said yesterday.