Tue, Feb 01, 2005 - Page 3 News List

Soong, Lien join ranks for speaker election; warn DPP

RUMORS The two party bigwigs called on the DPP not to interfere with today's speaker election, after local media alleged the DPP was buying votes


Putting up a united front, the chairmen of the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) and People First Party (PFP) expressed their confidence that their party candidates will win the elections for legislative speaker and deputy legislative speaker today.

Calling on the governing Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) not to interfere in the voting process, PFP Chairman James Soong (宋楚瑜) also said that future negotiations between the governing and opposition camps are possible, provided that today's elections are clean.

"We [the KMT and PFP] must unite to fulfill the hopes of our voters; I call on the KMT's and PFP's legislators to unite to allow legislators Wang Jin-pyng (王金平) and Chung Jung-chi (鐘榮吉) to win with a high number of votes," said KMT Chairman Lien Chan (連戰) yesterday after his first meeting with Soong after Soong's return to Taiwan last weekend.

Lien spoke at a joint media appearance with Soong after the two met yesterday afternoon, ostensibly to discuss today's speaker and deputy speaker elections.

KMT Vice Chairman and current speaker Wang is running for reelection in the sixth legislature, while PFP legislator Chung is running for deputy speaker.

Speaking before their party caucuses' joint campaign rally yesterday night, the chairmen expressed confidence in the success of their candidates and also reacted to allegations of DPP vote-buying.

The station TVBS recently reported rumors that the DPP is seeking to improve the chances of its candidate, DPP caucus whip Ker Chien-ming (柯建銘), with bribes of NT$70 million (US$2.2 million) per vote.

DPP Secretary-General Chang Chun-hsiung (張俊雄) yesterday denied the bribery charge, saying that the DPP will not interfere in the elections with money. He dared the anonymous accusers to present evidence, if there is any, to authorities for investigation.

Chang said it is the DPP's hope to reform the Legislative Yuan and engage in clean elections.

Lien, citing the reports, said he hopes that tomorrow's vote will be clean.

"I am concerned about the practices that I have heard from the media that will be harmful to a clean election tomorrow," Lien said. "As the governing party, the DPP has the responsibility to fulfill the people's desire for a clean election and not use money to threaten or tempt legislators. It [the alleged bribery] insults all legislators."

Appearing with Lien, Soong also called on the DPP to allow a smooth election to take place tomorrow, and that the DPP should not let conflicts over the elections affect negotiations later on.

Soong said that there are many issues, from cross-strait relations, ethnic harmony, and inter-party cooperation, that the ruling and opposition camps can cooperate on after the elections.

"There are many issues that the opposition and governing parties should begin to take steps on, in order to work for the people, and avoid political spats," Soong said. "We should not allow conflict over the speaker and deputy speaker posts to make everyone unhappy; this is a bad beginning."

"I hope the DPP can take our advice as the third largest, or third smallest, party in the legislature," Soong said. "If in the past few days President Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁) and Premier Frank Hsieh (謝長廷) mean what they have said about reconciliation, we call on the DPP to respect the political environment, and allow Mr. Wang Jin-pyng and Mr. Chung Jung-chi to smoothly win their elections, since the opposition parties have a majority in the legislature."

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