Thu, Jan 26, 2006 - Page 3 News List

Ma pans Chen's `retreat'

FORTRESS CHEN The KMT chairman criticized the president over his policy direction and said good relations can be achieved by using a `middle-of-the-road' approach


The president's retreat into his "fundamentalist fortress," the "strange circumstances" surrounding the resignation of the premier and the decision of the former Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) chairman to quit the party are troublesome political developments, Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) Chairman Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) said yesterday.

"The president's New Year address shows that he has chosen to stick with fundamentalist voters ? whether the relationship between the ruling and opposition parties will be smooth depends on whether the DPP takes Taiwan's development seriously," he said yesterday during a lunch party at KMT headquarters.

While expressing his regret at former premier Frank Hsieh's (謝長廷) resignation, Ma called on new Premier Su Tseng-chang (蘇貞昌) and all politicians in Taiwan to "walk the right path."

"Taiwan needs `middle-of-the-road' politics. And good relations between the ruling and opposition parties can be only be achieved when no one goes to extremes and when everyone abides by the law and acts rationally," he said, adding that the pan-blue camp will stick to its middle-of-the-road policies and continue to be a rational opposition force.

Earlier yesterday morning, the KMT chairman confirmed that his party will pay a half month year-end bonus to party workers after all.

"We are short of cash right now, and so the situation won't be the same as last year. But we understand the expectations of party workers, and we will try to raise enough money to give them a bonus around the time of the lantern festival," he said.

The KMT announced on Tuesday that it is experiencing serious financial difficulties and will not pay any year-end bonus to party workers, but changed its tune after a late-night meeting with the party's union.

"People think that the KMT is rich, but it's not true. The money we got from the party asset sales all went toward paying the debts we owed ? we are sorry about this situation too," Ma added.

The year-end bonuses will cost the party about NT$40 million (US$1.25 million).

Meanwhile, two more People First Party (PFP) members, Legislator Lin Yu-fang (林郁方) and Taipei City Councilor Wang Hsin-yi (王欣儀) announced yesterday they are joining the KMT in order to meet the deadline for the party's so-called "four-month regulation."

The plan, which is meant to tighten the regulations for the party's primary elections, requires candidates to have held KMT membership for at least four months before they can represent the party in elections for public posts. As the party is expected to hold its primaries on May 25, yesterday was the last day for anybody wishing to join the KMT.

Ma yesterday welcomed the newcomers, but said that the KMT's nomination mechanism will not favor everyone.

"We can't guarantee anyone that the party will nominate him or her. Any interested persons will need to obtain the support of party members to win the nomination," he said.

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