Sat, Aug 12, 2006 - Page 3 News List

PFP tells Ma to talk turkey on Taipei mayor election

GIVE US RESPECT The party said that the KMT chairman should negotiate directly with it in order to come to agreement on one candidate in Taipei

By Mo Yan-chih  /  STAFF REPORTER

Concerns about a possible pan-blue split over the Taipei mayoral election mounted again yesterday as the People First Party (PFP) urged Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) Chairman Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) to negotiate directly with the PFP on fielding one mayoral candidate to represent the whole camp.

In an effort to prevent a repeat of the 1994 Taipei mayoral election, when two pan-blue candidates split the ticket and gave Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁) a surprise victory, Ma allegedly asked former KMT chairman Lien Chan (連戰) to dissuade PFP Chairman James Soong (宋楚瑜) from joining the race, according to a story in the Chinese-language China Times yesterday.

Ma yesterday declined to confirm the allegation, but said that the pan-blue camp should only have one mayoral candidate.

"The Democratic Progressive Party is losing its credibility, and pan-blue supporters would be very disappointed if we lost the election," Ma said yesterday at Taipei City Hall.

Ma said that KMT Secretary-General Chan Chuen-pao (詹春柏) and his PFP counterpart Chin Chin-sheng (秦金生) continued to negotiate the issue, and that he would not rule out the possibility of meeting with Soong.

Legislator Lee Hung-chun (李鴻鈞), who also doubles as the PFP's caucus whip, yesterday denied the allegation, urging the KMT to give the PFP more respect.

"If Chairman Ma wants to dissuade Chairman Soong from running, he should talk to him in person," he said yesterday.

Lee said that the PFP had always made way for the KMT in previous elections after KMT-PFP negotiations, and called on the KMT not to cause a pan-blue split by spreading rumors.

Soong is believed to be likely to enter the Taipei mayoral election, joining the KMT's candidate Hau Lung-bin (郝龍斌). But the PFP Chairman has not yet announced his intention formally. Yesterday, Soong said that the KMT should dissuade those who do not take things seriously.

"What should be discouraged are irrelevant regulations and those who never want to find solutions to problems," he said yesterday while addressing Taipei City's problems in what he called an "inspection tour" that would address issues in the city's 12 districts.

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