Legislator makes ex-President Lee ‘Dalai Lama’ jest

The China Post staff

A Democratic Progressive Party heavyweight yesterday made fun of former President Lee Teng-hui, describing him as a “political Dalai Lama” who particularly blesses losers in primaries. Legislator Shen Fu-hsiung’s jocular comparison was in line with speculations that a new political group under Lee’s sponsorship would nominate those who have failed to win their own parties’ blessings. He said Lee, armed with millions of NT dollars, is going to bless those who should be return to their caves for “hibernation.” Shen, talking at a training camp for young DPP workers in Taipei, apparently did not mean to hurt Lee, as he expressed appreciation for Lee’s efforts in forming a new group to help President Chen Shui-bian. But the lawmaker said it is too risky an attempt, stressing the Lee group may end up protecting their own interests rather than the DPP’s. The Lee camp will be all out trying to grab at least 5 percent of the votes during the year-end elections, so as to qualify for a share of the Legislature’s at-large seats, Shen said. The harm the Lee side might done to the DPP during the campaign would be incalculable, he said. He warned of the danger of alienating the DPP from neutral voters if the political camps are polarized into either pro-DPP or pro-KMT; or either pro-localization or anti-localization. The polarization would only force the nonpartisan voters to take the KMT side, he added. He advised against pitching the year-end elections as a showdown between two camps. It is better for the DPP to cooperate with the KMT in forming a coalition than for the DPP trying dominate the Legislative Yuan with the help of the Lee side. He estimated that the cooperation between the DPP and the Lee camps would still be more than 20 seats short of a majority.

He said Lee has good intentions of helping President Chen, but is not powerful enough. At present when the Chen administration’s performance is unconvincing, Shen likened Lee move to “coming with the bowl and chopsticks, but there is still no rice.” He said the support for DPP would only be diluted by the Lee group. He suggested Lee “climb the hills with the left hand holding Lien Chan and the right hand holding Chen Shui-bian,” meaning the former president should seek to unite the KMT and DPP to form a majority. “That’s the only hope for political stability,” Shen said. Meanwhile, DPP Chairman Frank Hsieh said he sees the forming of a Lee group as a KMT infighting. As for the possibility of the DPP support being undermined by the Lee side, Hsieh said the birth of any new political parties would bring new competition and extensive changes. He asked DPP members to remain calm observing the development.