Sat, Feb 04, 2006 - Page 3 News List

KMT Chairman Ma denies causing PFP lawmaker exodus

By Mo Yan-chih  /  STAFF REPORTER

Staff reporter

Responding to comments made by People First Party (PFP) Chairman James Soong about party defectors earlier in the day, Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) Chairman Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) reiterated that his party has never encouraged any PFP members to join the KMT, while continuing to stress the importance of pan-blue unity.

"The KMT is also walking the middle course. The KMT and PFP have the same origins and we share similar ideas ? I think all pan-blue members agree that pan-blue cooperation is vital," Ma said yesterday during the Taipei city government's New Year gathering at the city hall.

At a time when many of the ruling party's policies have failed to respond to the concerns of the people and have even started panic, Ma said, it is the responsibility of the opposition parties to cooperate and stabilize social unease by answering the public's expectations.

While Ma has repeatedly denied having problematic relations with the PFP in the wake of a mass exodus of PFP members to the KMT, an awkward atmosphere has developed between the two parties as the political future of the PFP is facing an increasingly crucial test with more members expected to leave soon for the KMT.

Ma certainly felt the awkwardness yesterday when he declined to eat an orange offered him by the Taipei City council deputy speaker and PFP member Lee Hsin (李新) during a visit to the Taipei city council's New Year party. Orange is the PFP's party color.

"I should not eat any oranges for the time being. We need to respect [the orange]," he said.

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