KMT fully prepared for separation challenges: Lin

By Hsieh Kuo-lien, The China Post

Kuomintang (KMT) Secretary General Lin Feng-cheng said yesterday the party has been fully prepared for some party members’ attempts to establish a new political group. Lin called for unity in the leading opposition party yesterday, one day after Former Minister of the Interior Huang Chu-wen of KMT substantiated that he has been working to establish a new political group, whose members would include many KMT lawmakers. Lin said that KMT high-ranking officials knew the members’ intentions two months ago, though “we were still hopeful that ‘some things’ would not happen,” implying the KMT leaders would try making a last effort to prevent them from leaving the party. Lin said: “We are unwilling to see the establishment of a new political group. It would pose a gross challenge for the KMT, and we hope that all party members would work together to remove the obstacles before us.” Lin made the remarks before a group of senior KMT members yesterday in Taipei. “I want to tell you that as long as we can stand together, we will be capable of dealing with all attempts to break us up.” Lin told the senior KMT members that “the KMT has proper reaction plans. And unity comes before everything,” chanting “we need unity, unity, unity.” The political group comes at a sensitive moment as political analysts have predicted former President and KMT Chairman Lee Teng-hui would help President Chen Shui-bian of the DPP attempt to control more than half of the legislative seats after the elections scheduled for December. Lin has reportedly discussed the issues regarding current political situations with KMT Chairman Lien Chan in a telephone conversation while Lien was traveling overseas. Although the political group’s members have planned to cooperate with the DPP, Lin said it is still too early to predict whether the establishment of Huang’s group would have a positive or negative impact on the KMT. “It is also difficult to say whether it will be good or bad for the DPP,” Lin added. “A total of 81 candidates have won the KMT’s nomination recently. All of them are very loyal to the party,” Lin said, though Huang’s group will be set up in July while dozens of politicians have agreed to join in it. Lin said the leading opposition party would nominate more than 10 lawmaker candidates in the near future. He stressed that “our nominees are the best ones. I urge the voters to help the best candidates be the winners,” adding that the KMT will offer Taiwan people both the best candidates and the best policies in an effort to stabilize the country’s economy. Lin declined to predict the political group’s future. He said: “The voters will make the decision. At the present day, we have yet to know who has been contacted by Huang, and we don’t exactly know how many people are willing to join in the new political group.”

The ruling DPP is making an effort to grab 85 legislative seats in the year-end elections and plans cooperate with 35 lawmakers of other parties after the election. The KMT now holds 113 seats in the 220-seat legislature, while the opposition People First Party controls 19 seats and the New Party eight. The DPP holds a total of 66 seats. Huang Chu-wen, who served as the Interior Minister between 1998 and 2000 when former President Lee Teng-hui was in office, confirmed on Saturday that he has been organizing a new political group. When Huang was asked whether July would be too late for the group’s members to run for lawmakers in the year-end election, Huang said that”they have already kicked off their campaign activities,” implying many of the group’s members could be lawmakers from another term. Many KMT lawmakers who support Lee rather than incumbent KMT Chairman Lien Chan have apparently planned to leave the now major opposition party to join the new political group. Huang said the names of the group’s members would be made available to the public in July. Chen Chien-ming, former National Assembly member and key figure of Huang’s political group, told reporters yesterday the group would be formally set up in mid-July. Chen also admitted to their intention to side with the DPP, saying that “we will give our support to the ‘roper policies’ forged by the DPP.” In addition to KMT lawmakers, Chen said the group members would include members from other political parties. “As long as he or she loves Taiwan and is willing to do something for it, the person will receive our welcome,” Chen said. DPP lawmaker Lin Cho-shui told reporters over the weekend that, when Huang Chu-wen is organizing the group, everyone knows that Lee Teng-hui is standing behind him. “Without Lee’s authorization, Huang Chu-wen would never be successful.” “Their (the group members’) ultimate goal is to establish a political party and then become a ‘super political group’ in the legislature. Concurrently, it hopes to cooperate with other parties in order to form a ‘stable majority’ in the legislature,” Lin added.