DPP members question alliance with Lee

The China Post staff

More leaders of the ruling Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) have expressed negative views about the prospects of cementing a political bloc with former President and Kuomintang Chairman Lee Teng-hui. Over 40 people to date, mostly non-incumbent legislators, have decided to run for legislative seats in the December election on behalf of Lee’s new political group, according one source participating in the movement. They plan to run for directly elected seats in almost every constituency in the hope of taking 35 seats in the Legislative Yuan, including the allocated legislative seats-at-large.

The United Evening News reported Chiu Shao-chun, chief of Tunghsiao Township in central Taiwan, was invited to have a meeting with Lee on Tuesday. According to Chiu, Lee described himself as “an 81-year-old old man” and stressed that he “was forced to get involved in the mess” because the situation in Taiwan is in chaos after a year under the DPP-led government.

Another report in a newly launched magazine said Lee will personally handle the training of around 50 candidates. He promised to stump for the candidates in forthcoming campaigns. Lee is also ready to donate NT$10 million from his own pocket to set up a party fund if his group is organized into a new political party. At a debate of DPP leaders Tuesday afternoon and the weekly meeting of the “nine-member decision-making task force” chaired by President Chen in the evening, one of the major worries expressed is the heavy overlapping of ballots as the DPP and Lee attract almost the same supporters.

Lee, who still keeps his KMT membership, is said to be seeking to lure members mainly from the KMT. But DPP leaders are keen to know how the “Lee Group” will separate its candidates from candidates put up by the DPP itself since some of Lee’s candidates will be DPP members who failed to win nominations in the primaries held earlier by the DPP. They worry that an alliance between the DPP and Lee will win more aggregate popular votes islandwide but the total number of legislative seats will be reduced due to split of votes among more candidates. The same concern was repeated at the second debate and panel discussion held at DPP headquarters yesterday morning. Legislator Chang Chun-hung, one of DPP founders, acknowledged the current DPP government has been actually operating under a “Lee-Bian system” for the past year and all the facts have proved that such an alliance is unworkable. Chang asserted that the “Lee-Bian” system — an alliance between former President Lee and incumbent President Chen Shui-bian — was “in fact unofficially declared” upon the inauguration of the new government May 20, 2000.

Although the government has already been operating under such model for one year, Chang lamented that events of the past year have proven that the new government is unable to function at all in internal affairs.

He called Lee’s latest political move an attempt to bring such under-the-table operations above the board. The lawmaker also expressed skepticism that the alleged “Lee Group” can effectively cooperate with the DPP, as potential supporters of Lee and the DPP are largely overlapping. Chang estimated that the DPP now can at most take 40 percent of the popular vote in the legislative election. He said he cannot see how the Lee Group will cultivate new sources for ballots while the group has not yet come up with methods to solve the overlapping candidates problem. Others joining the debate conceded it is really a difficult task to segment the overlapping votes between the candidates to be fielded by the DPP and Lee.