Wed, May 18, 2005 - Page 2 News List

Disgruntled PFP legislators may exit the party

DISSATISFIED The legislators oppose the party's recent cooperation with the DPP and say their calls for a review of party policy have been ignored

By Ko Shu-ling  /  STAFF REPORTER

Two People First Party (PFP) lawmakers are considering leaving the party after their calls for a debate on the party's future and the direction Chairman James Soong (宋楚瑜) is leading the party fell on deaf ears.

PFP lawmaker Chiu Yi (邱毅) said he may make a final decision within the next couple of weeks or so.

Chiu was referring to remarks made by Soong, who reportedly said that those who intend to leave the party are welcome to do so.

Soong began receiving party members and lawmakers on Monday to solicit opinions on the party's direction, which has been harshly criticized.

"His remarks were clearly directed at me, because I've been asking the party to hold an open debate to discuss the path down which the chairman is leading us since his meeting with President Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁)," Chiu said.

Chiu said he had tried to convince himself that the party's new policy to cooperate with the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) would not anger supporters and drive them away. Unfortunately, his fears were well founded, he said.

If he decides to leave the party, Chiu said he will not follow in the footsteps of his colleague Chou Hsi-wei (周錫瑋), who defected to the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) last month.

Chou joined the KMT in the hope of representing the party in the year-end election for Taipei County commissioner.

Chiu said that independent lawmaker Li Ao (李敖) has contacted him and hinted that he might team up with him.

Another PFP lawmaker, Lee Ching-hua (李慶華), said he is seriously considering leaving the party.

Lee also opposes the recent cooperation with the DPP and requested the party review the direction it is taking. But his calls have been ignored, he said.

Lee remained evasive about whether he would join the KMT should he opt to leave the PFP.

Analyzing the reasons behind the DPP-PFP cooperation, Lee said that Soong might have been motivated by his ambition to run in the presidential election in 2008.

While Chen might not give Soong a government position, he could create a platform for him and assign him a role. Chen, on the other hand, can gain the PFP's assistance in the legislature, and maybe a Nobel peace prize for calming cross-strait tensions, Lee said.

Although another PFP legislator, Lin Yu-fang (林郁方), has also condemned the party's direction, he said he will never leave the party and has never thought of doing so.

Lin said he is not averse to cross-party cooperation, but added that Soong should stay away from Chen, because he is an "untrustworthy" politician.

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