Thu, Nov 15, 2007 - Page 3 News List

KMT, PFP to strengthen cooperation

CAUTION While the parties said they would join ranks to win the legislative and presidential elections next year, the chairmen refrained from commenting on a merger

By Mo Yan-chih  /  STAFF REPORTER

Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) Chairman Wu Po-hsiung, left, grins at a meeting in Taipei yesterday as People First Party Chairman James Soong criticizes the referendum on returning to the UN proposed by the KMT.

PHOTO: CNA

Cooperation between the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) and the People First Party (PFP) increased yesterday as the chairmen of the two parties unveiled the four PFP legislator-at-large candidates nominated by the two parties and vowed to work closely together to win the elections next year.

The four PFP candidates -- Cheng Chin-ling (鄭金玲), Chang Hsien-yao (張顯耀), Marr Chang-chi (梅長錡) and director of the Taipei Accountant Association Luo Shu-lei (羅淑蕾) -- will join the KMT for registration.

"To achieve victory in the legislative and presidential elections, the KMT and the PFP must unite and closely cooperate. I have asked the candidates to join the KMT for complete KMT-PFP integration during the elections," PFP Chairman James Soong (宋楚瑜) said yesterday at KMT headquarters.

Joining Soong in announcing KMT-PFP cooperation during the legislative election, KMT Chairman Wu Poh-hsiung (吳伯雄) said the two parties had discussed cooperation for six months, but declined to comment on any final merger of the two parties.

"We won't talk about a merger now and the KMT will not meddle in the operations of the PFP's legislative caucus during this session," Wu said.

In addition to the four legislator-at-large candidates, six legislative candidates were nominated via the KMT-PFP alliance.

Ko Shu-ming (柯淑敏), Lee Hung-chun (李鴻鈞), Wu Chin-chih (吳清池), Chung Shao-Ho (鍾紹和), Fu Kun-chi (傅崑萁) and Daniel Hwang (黃義交) will join the KMT and register under the party, Soong said.

While he encouraged KMT-PFP cooperation for the elections, Soong nevertheless criticized the KMT for "deceiving voters" with its UN referendum bid and its recent removal of the "1992 consensus" from its mission statement.

"The Democratic Progressive Party [DPP] is fooling people with its UN referendum bid. [But] the KMT's bid to return to the UN under the name `Republic of China' [ROC] is also impossible. Isn't that deceptive as well?" Soong said.

Soong also expressed his disappointment with the KMT and its presidential candidate, Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九), for deviating from its fundamental beliefs.

"The PFP maintains that the ROC is the only option. Taiwanese independence is not an option for us. The PFP will not change its beliefs or alter its course for electoral purposes," he said.

During a visit to Europe last year, Ma said independence remained an option for Taiwan and has increasingly relied on pro-localization rhetoric to attract voters.

Soong denied he was targeting Ma with his remarks, but continued to called on the KMT not to forget its history and to stick to its political beliefs.

In response to Soong's criticism, Wu said the "1992 consensus" continued to be key a cross-strait policy in the party's Charter.

"But the KMT has to continue pushing the UN referendum bid, as it reflects the nation's difficult position in the international community," Wu said.

While the two chairmen declined to discuss the KMT-PFP merger, many expect the two parties will start preparations for a final merger after the new legislative session begins in February.

Asked for comment, PFP Legislator Shen Chin-hwei (沈智慧) said she was "very surprised" she had not been included in the lineup while Marr, a one-term overseas legislator, had been nominated.

Shen said that even without KMT and PFP support she remained determined to run in the legislative election in the second district of Taichung City.

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