Tue, Apr 24, 2007 - Page 3 News List

Lai rebuts Hsieh's claim New Tide blocked arms deal

By Flora Wang  /  STAFF REPORTER

Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Legislator William Lai (賴清德) yesterday dismissed an allegation the party's former New Tide faction had opposed a deal in 2005 that would have seen the long-stalled arms procurement bill passed.

On Sunday former premier Frank Hsieh (謝長廷) said a boycott by the New Tide had scuppered the deal.

Lai, who had been a New Tide member, told a press conference he called yesterday that while Hsieh had agreed with the Non-Partisan Solidarity Union (NPSU) to approve an amendment to the Offshore Islands Development Law (離島建設條例) which would allow casinos to be established in exchange for the union's help in passing the arms bills, the deal was later negated by the DPP caucus.

"Many people disapproved of the deal, including legislators belonging to Hsieh's camp," he said.

"Legislators of the former New Tide faction were not the only people who opposed the deal," he said.

Lai said Hsieh had twice reached a deal with the eight-seat NPSU when he was premier.

According to Lai, the NPSU changed its mind the first time after a breakfast gathering with the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT).

Although Hsieh reached a second consensus with the NPSU later, the DPP caucus ruled against the deal because "it would be harmful to DPP's public image and values because exchanging the gambling law for the arms procurement bills would have aroused controversy," Lai said.

Some DPP legislators thought the party should not trust the NPSU because it had "cheated" on the DPP before, he said.

Former DPP legislator Tuan Yi-kang (段宜康) said on Sunday that Hsieh had failed to communicate with faction leaders before he made the deal with the NPSU, adding that non-New Tide member Chen Chin-jun (陳景峻) -- who is now deputy minister of transportation and communications -- and Jao Yung-ching (趙永清) were also against the deal.

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