Mon, Jan 17, 2005 - Page 3 News List

DPP keeping options open on legislative speaker race

CNA , TAIPEI

The Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) will not rule out the possibility of naming its own candidate to vie for the legislative speakership if it fails to strike a cooperative deal with the People First Party (PFP), an influential DPP lawmaker said yesterday.

The DPP has been seeking to forge a working partnership with the PFP since the pan-green camp failed to win a majority in the Dec. 11 legislative elections.

However, PFP Chairman James Soong (宋楚瑜) said in Washington on Saturday that his party will support Legislative President Wang Jin-pyng (王金平) for re-election, the vote for which will be held Feb. 1 along with that for deputy speaker.

Wang is a vice chairman of the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT).

As some PFP lawmakers have expressed interest in running for deputy speaker, Soong said he will listen to their opinions before making a decision on the party's stance toward that post.

Soong will return to Taipei later this week.

Responding to Soong's remarks, DPP legislative whip Tsai Huang-liang (蔡煌瑯), said the DPP will continue to woo the PFP to forge a partnership. If this goal cannot be realized, Tsai said the DPP may field a candidate to run for speaker.

As to who its candidate might be, Tsai said the DPP has yet to discuss this issue. Nevertheless, Tsai said he thinks DPP Secretary-General Chang Chun-hsiung (張俊雄), who will become a DPP legislator-at-large Feb. 1, is the top choice.

Unless Chang explicitly declines to join the race for speaker, Tsai said, the DPP will not consider any other person. He said the DPP will not field its own candidate for deputy speaker in order to retain leverage to make cooperative deals with other parties.

If the DPP can reach a cooperative deal with the PFP, Tsai said it will not rule out the possibility of supporting a PFP candidate for speaker.

In related developments, PFP legislative whip Liu Wen-hsiung (劉文雄) dismissed as sheer speculation a media report that some PFP lawmakers might be willing to support a DPP candidate in the speakership election.

Liu said the PFP's top goal is to secure the legislative deputy speaker post.

The Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) reportedly will agree to support a PFP candidate in the election for deputy speaker if the PFP supports Wang in the speakership election.

Liu said when Soong returns to Taipei, the PFP's candidate for the deputy speaker election will become clear.

In the new 225-seat legislature to be inaugurated Feb.1, the DPP will remain the largest party with 89 seats, followed by the KMT with 79 seats, the PFP with 34 seats and the Taiwan Solidarity Union with 12 seats. The remaining seats will be controlled by the Non-Partisan Solidarity Union and independents.

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