Tue, Sep 18, 2007 - Page 3 News List

KMT lawmaker joins new Taiwan Farmers Party

By Shih Hsiu-chuan  /  STAFF REPORTER , WITH CNA

Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) Legislator Ko Chun-hsiung (柯俊雄) announced yesterday that he would join the recently organized Taiwan Farmers Party (TFP).

At a TFP news conference, officials said the party -- which has close ties to the pan-blue camp -- would set up a think tank to study agricultural and fishery policy.

The TFP was founded on June 15 by several Kaohsiung-based farmers and fishermen's groups.

Ko -- who lost in the KMT's legislative primaries for next January's elections -- said he had decided to join the group to remind the KMT of its promise to take care of farmers and other underprivileged members of society.

However, he said he would not quit the KMT because he believes that it shares ideals with the TFP about politics and efforts to help the people.

Ko said his decision to join the TFP was aimed at winning a broader support base for KMT presidential candidate Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) among farmers and fishermen.

Claiming that the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) has not protected the rights and interests of farmers and fishermen and that other opposition parties have only paid lip-service to the issue, Ko said the TFP has the strongest grassroots spirit of all the parties.

He also said his joining the TFP would provide a "silver lining" for farmers and fishermen.

On the possibility of his being expelled from the KMT, Ko, a movie star before entering politics, called on the KMT leadership "not to turn a friend into an enemy."

KMT Vice Secretary-General Liao Feng-teh said under the KMT charter members who defect to another party could be stripped of their membership.

In other news, former Taoyuan County councilor Chen Tsung-jen (陳宗仁) took up the seat left vacant by former DPP legislator-at-large You Ching (尤清), who was appointed representative to Germany.

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