Fri, Mar 14, 2008 - Page 3 News List

Presidential election 2008: 8 days to go: Wu apologizes for legislators' intrusion

'ASHAMED' Ma Ying-jeou said the KMT will be more careful in the future and that whether Hsieh's campaign is illegally leasing the office building is a public issue

By Mo Yan-chih  /  STAFF REPORTER

Democratic Progressive Party Legislator Yu Jan-daw, center left, asks Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) Legislator and convener of the legislature's Financial Committee Lu Shiow-yen, center right, to explain why she dismissed the committee's meeting yesterday.

PHOTO: FANG PIN-CHAO, TAIPEI TIMES

Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) Chairman Wu Poh-hsiung (吳伯雄) yesterday led four party legislators to apologize for barging into Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) presidential candidate Frank Hsieh's (謝長廷) campaign headquarters on Wednesday, vowing to bring party legislators' behavior under control.

"The four legislators went to an inappropriate place at an inappropriate time, caused social turmoil and cast a shadow on the election," Wu told a press conference yesterday afternoon.

Describing his feelings in response to the incident as "sad, sorry and ashamed."

Wu said: "I am asking all party members to keep a distance from our rivals' campaign events and avoid conflicts. We will step aside whenever they are campaigning."

KMT legislators Alex Fai (費鴻泰), Lo Ming-tsai (羅明才), Chen Chieh (陳杰) and Luo Shu-lei (羅淑蕾) barged into Hsieh's Taipei campaign office on Wednesday afternoon with allegations that First Commercial Bank had waived the rental fees of the office.

The legislators, who demanded Minister of Finance Ho Chih-chin (何志欽) come with them, soon ignited into verbal and physical clashes with Hsieh supporters, who lambasted the legislators for trespassing.

In a report presented at the press conference, the KMT said the incident was an official inspection and was not an incident of trespassing on private property nor was there kicking of doors by the KMT legislators as the DPP has claimed.

"I am willing to apologize to the public for the chaos we created. I am also willing to extend my apology to Mr. Hsieh if he feels uncomfortable and is upset by the incident," said Fai at the press conference.

Fai had offered his resignation as the party's caucus whip late on Wednesday night. He said he would quit his post and leave politics forever should the DPP produce any evidence proving that he "kicked open" the campaign headquarters' doors.

Lo also apologized to KMT presidential candidate Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) for the possible the impact on his election bid, adding he "did not expect that a simple on-the-spot inspection would turn into a violent clash."

Lo offered his resignation as a finance committee member in the legislature and said he would support a non-KMT legislator taking over his position. Chen and Luo also offered apologies.

Ma, offering his apology yesterday, pledged to examine the behavior of the party's legislators.

He said the KMT would be more cautious about exercising its rights in the legislature, while urging the DPP not to sensationalize the incident.

At a separate setting yesterday, Hsieh warned against the danger of one-party control of both the legislature and the executive, urging the public to use their ballots to see justice is done.

Hsieh promised that if elected, he would protect the safety and the basic human rights of every individual.

"It is a problem that concerns not only me but also the general public," he said.

Hsieh said it is all nice and well that Ma apologized, but it shows he cannot control his party's legislators.

As Ma yesterday said that it was a public issue whether Hsieh's campaign was illegally leasing the office building, Hsieh said he had no problem discussing the issue. However, it was another issue for KMT legislators to barge into his campaign headquarters and then condemn the violence of his team members.

"It is to mistake the effect for the cause," he said. "It is like a woman who is sexually harassed by a man and slaps the man on the face. The man turns around and then accuses the woman of brutality."

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