Wed, Jan 26, 2005 - Page 3 News List

DPP stands firm on speaker race

By Debby Wu  /  STAFF REPORTER

The Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) legislative caucus yesterday said it was standing firm on its decision to vie for the legislative speakership, even as the pan-blue alliance was consolidating its ticket.

Although DPP Secretary-General Chang Chun-hsiung (張俊雄), a newly appointed legislator-at-large, announced two days ago that he would withdraw from the race for the speakership, the DPP caucus said that it had not given up hope.

Chang was originally nominated as a legislator-at-large because the party wanted him to run for the speakership, but after his withdrawal, veteran Legislator Trong Chai (蔡同榮) announced his intention of running for the office. Chai is a member of the Welfare State Alliance, a DPP faction.

"We will choose the speaker in an election, and it is impossible for the DPP to miss the race. We have to have a winning strategy if we want to run in the race, and the candidate has become a minor issue," DPP caucus whip Ker Chien-ming (柯建銘) said.

Ker said that since the legislative election results were gloomy for the DPP, the party is under a lot of pressure concerning the speakership race.

Ker implied that the DPP might still have a chance of winning the race by exploiting internal conflicts within the pan-blue camp.

"The Chinese Nationalist Party [KMT] has its ideas about how to approach the election on Feb. 1, and so does the DPP. Any strategy may be adopted," Ker said.

"Regarding the deputy speakership, we have seen that Legislator Chung Jung-chi (鍾榮吉) has become the People First Party's [PFP] candidate in a vote, but some conflicts within the PFP and dissent within the KMT have emerged in the process," Ker said.

KMT caucus whip Tseng Yung-chuan (曾永權), meanwhile, said yesterday that KMT Chairman Lien Chan (連戰) and PFP Chairman James Soong (宋楚瑜) would host a campaign event together after the caucuses hold meetings on Jan. 31 to "ensure that not a single vote swings to another side."

PFP caucus whip Liu Wen-hsiung (劉文雄) also said that a KMT-PFP ticket would be finalized and officially sanctioned after the two chairmen talked over the next few days. Soong is currently on holiday in the US, and he is expected to return, possibly before the end of this month.

Liu also said that Soong was immediately informed of Chung's selection as the PFP's candidate two days ago, after the vote was completed.

Chung is expected to form a joint ticket with Legislative Speaker Wang Jin-pyng (王金平), but Wang said yesterday that although he and Chung would seek support from all lawmakers, they would tentatively conduct their own campaigns separately, due to concerns about their different schedules.

"Because Chung is starting late, he still needs to visit KMT and Non-Partisan Solidarity Union [NPSU] lawmakers for support. So for the moment, we will make our visits separately due to our difference schedules," Wang said.

Two days ago some KMT lawmakers had voiced dissent about a KMT-PFP ticket, saying they would have preferred a pure KMT ticket, but Wang responded to the dissent yesterday, saying that there were fewer and fewer lawmakers who disagreed with cross-party collaboration.

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