Thu, Nov 30, 2006 - Page 3 News List

DPP members pan Luo

`STATE AFFAIRS FUND' The former legislator said at a speech in Boston that while President Chen might not have intended to embezzle funds, he shouldn't have lied

By Flora Wang and Ko Shu-ling  /  STAFF REPORTERS

Former Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) legislator Luo Wen-chia's (羅文嘉) comments on President Chen Shui-bian's (陳水扁) handling of the "state affairs fund" case drew criticism from DPP members yesterday.

A member of the party's Central Standing Committee, Huang Ching-lin (黃慶林), presented a proposal in the committee meeting yesterday to expel Luo from the party.

Huang told the press before the meeting that Luo, who used to be considered Chen's protege, was not qualified to comment on the president or the DPP because "he hasn't helped out with party affairs or governmental affairs since he lost the Taipei County commissioner race last year.

Luo has been attending a short-term study program at Harvard University since he lost the Taipei County commissioner election in December last year.

Luo said during a question-and-answer session after a speech he delivered at Boston University on Monday that Chen might not have intended to embezzle from his "state affairs fund" but made the mistake of lying to cover inconsistencies in the case.

"Those who should leave should go. Those who bring disgrace on the group should not stay in the party," Huang said.

Huang's proposal, however, was only discussed in the committee meeting yesterday and DPP Deputy Secretary-General Tsai Huang-liang (蔡煌瑯) said the party will decide what to do with Luo after making a detailed assessment of Luo's intentions through communication with him.

DPP Legislator Gao Jyh-peng (高志鵬) told the press that Luo should not distance himself from the president. But neither should he be expelled from the party because he had the right to express his opinion.

Vice President Annette Lu (呂秀蓮), on her way to the committee meeting, said Lo's comments were "not very appropriate."

She did not elaborate.

DPP Legislator Lee Chun-yi (李俊毅) criticized Luo as an "opportunist," saying that he now considered himself an important player in the reform of the DPP and had talked about running for DPP chairman with the backing of the party's former New Tide faction. Lee gave no examples or evidence to support his claims.

Former DPP legislator Lee Wen-chung (李文忠) told the press that discussion of Luo's comments should focus on whether his words were right or wrong instead of his political motivations.

Luo yesterday expressed disappointment over his colleagues' criticism, and rebuked the president for telling lies to cover up mistakes he made.

"I am not surprised but rather disappointed by the fact that party members have such different opinions about me," Luo said in a message posted on his personal blog.

"Has our society become so crazy that there is no room for reasonable discussion?" he asked.

Luo said he would like to tell his critics that they would have said something different had they been there to listen to his entire speech.

"It's a pity that you were not there," he said.

Luo yesterday said he initially hesitated in accepting the speech invitation and understood that he could not avoid criticism in commenting on such a sensitive issue after a nine-month absence from the public eye.

Sharing views

He said the reason he eventually accepted the invitation was that he did not want to forgo an opportunity to dialogue with young people and that he wanted to share his feelings and observations of Taiwan and the DPP with friends and interested academics and policymakers in the US.

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