Lee meets prospective members of new alliance

Hsieh Kuo-lien, The China Post

Former President and Kuomintang (KMT) Chairman Lee Teng-hui yesterday met with a group of political figures who are expected to join the new political group being organized by a former Cabinet member with Lee’s assistance. Former Interior Minister Huang Chu-wen of the KMT substantiated that he has been working to organize the new political group, whose members would include members from all parties as well as, independent politicians.

Huang and six political figures, including independent lawmakers Walis Pelin and Huang Min-ho, had a two-hour talk with the former president yesterday morning at Lee’ residence in Taipei’s Shihlin district. Accompanied by a smiling Lee, the seven waved to reporters as they left Lee’s residence. Huang Chu-wen, who served as the interior minister between 1998 and 2000 when the former president was in office, now maintains perfect personal relations with him. Huang’s group will be formally set up next month, while the group’s core members plan to cooperate with the ruling Democratic Progressive Party (DPP).

Walis, an aboriginal lawmaker, told reporters after the meeting that Lee urged them to participate in the legislative election scheduled for December, though did not speak of the establishment of the new political group. “He (Lee) in the meeting encouraged us to make an effort to stabilize Taiwan’s politics and to increase the welfare of Taiwan people through participation in the year-end election,” Walis said. “Lee is also hopeful that we would be capable of putting an end to the chaos in the Legislative Yuan, if we win seats in the election,” Walis added. Walis said he will join in the political group because he agreed with Lee’s viewpoints on the concept of “Taiwanization,” a term that stresses the pursuit of Taiwan’s interests in pondering public affairs. Some political analysts criticized that Lee helped Huang to set up the alliance in an attempt to grab political power, Lee said in the meeting that after he had worked as the president, political power seems unimportant, adding that he cared about political stability in Taiwan. Huang Min-ho said Lee could offer his support to politicians of KMT, DPP, and People First Party (PFP) in the year-end legislative election, implying that the new political group’s members could include all parties’ members. Other attendants in the meeting yesterday declined to make comments on the alliance. The new alliance has apparently posed a gross challenge for high-ranking KMT officials, who are fearful that the leading opposition party could lose its majority in the year-end election. The leading opposition party’s Secretary General Lin Fong-cheng has been trying to prevent some KMT members from leaving the party. KMT high-ranking officials are expected to forge a concrete reaction plan in the near future after having a talk with Chairman Lien Chan, who is traveling overseas. Lin said recently that the party has been fully prepared for challenges posed by the new political group, but he also called for unity in the KMT. Many KMT lawmakers who support Lee rather than Lien have planned to leave the now major opposition party to join the new alliance. Some 30 politicians have reportedly agreed to join Huang’s group. Local media reported that Huang would form a political party rather than a regular political alliance, Huang denied the reports earlier this week saying that they were not going to set up a new party. To be a winner in the year-end election is the priority issue.