Wed, Dec 07, 2005 - Page 3 News List

PFP urges merger talks soon between Ma, Soong

By Mo Yan-chih  /  STAFF REPORTER

The People First Party (PFP) yesterday urged Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) Chairman Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) to arrange a meeting with PFP Chairman James Soong (宋楚瑜) as soon as possible, and to set aside "plenty of time" to discuss details of an ultimate pan-blue camp merger in the meeting.

"We propose the establishment of a committee on a KMT-PFP consolidation, and urge KMT Chairman Ma to meet Chairman Soong as soon as possible to discuss the merger," PFP spokesperson Hsieh Kung-ping (謝公秉) said yesterday.

Issues awaiting further discussion include proper arrangements for PFP members after the merger, and cooperation between the two parties in the Legislative Yuan, Hsieh said.

Soong paid a visit to Ma for the first time in early September after Ma took over the chairmanship. The Ma-Soong meeting failed to generate any solid conclusion on the arms-procurement package, and did not address KMT-PFP cooperation in the local government elections.

But Saturday's elections, in which the KMT swept most local posts, have changed the political landscape. One result is that many think a KMT-PFP merger may finally be accomplished, since Soong is reportedly open to a second Ma-Soong meeting and pan-blue consolidation.

After the committee meets with Ma, Hsieh said, the KMT should present a concrete merger plan for the PFP to follow. Besides, to solve the complicated merger problems unanswered in the hasty Ma-Soong meeting last time, Ma should give more time to the meeting this time, and the merger plan could be carried out after the meeting.

Ma said the party will discuss the schedule of the second Ma-Soong meeting in the coming days, and that the KMT will respect the PFP on the issue.

"So far we did not invite any PFP members to return to the KMT, and we will respect PFP members' opinions on the merger issue," he said yesterday after presiding as Mayor over a Taipei municipal meeting.

In response to Legislative Speaker Wang Jin-pyng's (王金平) remarks that the position of Soong within a merged party would be a challenging issue, Ma said the idea of KMT-PFP consolidation was to strengthen the power of the pan-blue camp, but not to "take any particular individual into consideration."

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