Mon, Dec 11, 2006 - Page 3 News List

Elections 2006: PFP lawmakers urge Soong to think again about quitting

WANTED MAN Despite a disastrous performance in the Taipei mayoral election, many of the PFP faithful don't want to see James Soong leave politics

By Shih Hsiu-chuan and Ko Shu-ling  /  STAFF REPORTERS

People First Party (PFP) lawmakers yesterday urged Chairman James Soong (宋楚瑜), who announced on Saturday that he would quit politics, to change his mind.

"It would be a loss to Taiwan and the Taiwanese people if Soong were to leave politics," PFP Secretary-General Chin Chin-sheng (秦金生) told a press conference

Calling Soong "indispensable" to the country and the party, Deputy Legislative Speaker Chung Jung-chi (鍾榮吉) called on Soong to stay with the party at this "crucial moment."

Soong, running as an independent candidate, picked up a paltry 4.14 percent of the votes in Saturday's Taipei mayoral election and subsequently announced that he was quitting politics.

Chang Chao-hsiung (張昭雄), who has been Soong's deputy since the 2000 presidential election, also said he would resign his post as the party's vice chairman.


A group of PFP lawmakers had a long talk with Chang yesterday morning, in a bid to urge him to reconsider his decision.

Chang, however, didn't give them a positive answer.

After visiting Soong at his house, PFP spokesman Lee Hung-chun (李鴻鈞) yesterday said this was not an appropriate time to push Soong on the matter.

"I actually didn't talk to him too much [about our wish that he change his mind]. We should give him some time to take a rest for his emotions to subside," Lee said, adding that he saw little indication that Soong would reverse his decision.

The PFP had previously said that the party would form an alliance with the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) to nominate candidates for next year's legislative election and for other matters.

"[The alliance] is still the direction that we want, but the possibility of forming it depends on the KMT's attitude," PFP caucus whip Cheng Chin-ling (鄭金玲) said.

Legislative Speaker Wang Jin-pyng (王金平) yesterday expressed regret over Soong's decision to bow out of the political limelight.

"I am sorry to see him end his political career. It will be a great loss to politics," Wang said, adding that he had asked one of Soong's aides to convey his regret over Soong's defeat on the night of the election.

Joining forces?

When asked whether he would be prepared to join forces with KMT Chairman Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) and former KMT chairman Lien Chan (連戰) to try to talk Soong out of the idea, Wang said he was not in a position to work as a mediator.

While the PFP may disband if Soong sticks to his decision to quit politics, Wang said that he believed "Ma knows how to handle the relationship with the PFP and the PFP will adjust accordingly."

As the PFP secured two seats in Saturday's election for Taipei City councilors and four seats in the Kaohsiung City council polls, Wang said the party still stood a chance in next year's legislative election.

"No matter what decision the PFP will eventually make, the KMT must respect their free choice," he said.

Wang also said that he would arrange to meet with Ma in the next couple of days to discuss President Chen Shui-bian's (陳水扁) renomination of Control Yuan members.

Chen has said he would consider renominating the members if the KMT does not insist on increasing the legislative confirmation threshold from a simple majority to two-thirds.

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