Thu, Apr 14, 2005 - Page 3 News List

Chou causes blue-camp uproar

CROSSING OVER PFP Legislator Chou Hsi-wei sparked conflicting responses from the party after he announced yesterday that he had registered as a KMT member

By Caroline Hong  /  STAFF REPORTER

People First Party Legislator Chou Hsi-wei smiles after announcing yesterday that he will return to the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) and run in its preliminary for Taipei county commissioner.


People First Party (PFP) Legislator Chou Hsi-wei (周錫瑋) yesterday announced that he had become a member of the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) on Tuesday and hopes to represent the party in the Taipei County commissioner election.

While Chou said that he had received the blessing of the PFP Chairman James Soong (宋楚瑜) prior to registering with the KMT, the PFP denied this and said Chou will be stripped of his membership.

Chou defended his decision at press conference yesterday.

"Only if the pan-blue camp unites to support a group of candidates can we win the year-end [mayoral and country commissioner] races. If the pan-blue camp disintegrates, and the KMT and the PFP each nominates their own candidates, then the result will be a definite loss for the pan-blue camp," Chou said.

"I am willing to enter the KMT's intra-party preliminaries, by re-registering as a KMT member, to act as the first stone or first grain of sand in paving the road of future cooperation between the KMT and the PFP," he said .

Chou's move came as a surprise to most of the pan-blue camp yesterday, despite longstanding rumors that he had been talking to the KMT about entering its party preliminaries for the commissioner post.

When Chou first announced his interest in the Taipei County commissioner seat early last month, he called for the establishment of an inter-party nomination procedure for the hotly-contested seat.

In addition to Chou, KMT Legislator Lee Chia-chin (李嘉進) and former Council for Hakka Affairs Chairman Luo Wen-jia (羅文嘉) have publicly announced their intentions to run for the seat.

At KMT headquarters yesterday, Liao Feng-te (廖風德), director of the party's Organization and Development Committee, confirmed that Chou had registered at the party's Huang Fu-hsing (黃復興) headquarters in Taipei County on Tuesday.

"The KMT's door is always open; we welcome Chou to enter the party's preliminaries," Liao said.

His words of welcome were echoed by KMT Secretary-General Lin Feng-cheng (林豐正).

While the KMT seemed pleased with Chou's return, the PFP's reaction was less clear.

While the PFP's legislative caucus and central party organization said they had not been told of Chou's decision prior to his announcement, the head of the PFP's policy research department, Chang Hsien-yao (張顯耀), said that the party had been informed.

Speaking at the legislature yesterday, Chang said that Chou told the PFP of his decision on Tuesday.

The KMT had promised Chou that he could run under dual-party membership in the manner of New Party members who ran as KMT members in last December's legislative election, Chang said.

Once Chou wins the election, Chang said, he will return to the PFP.

The PFP, however, yesterday denied Chang's comments and said Chou has been stripped of party privileges and duties.

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