Newly formed TSU announces opening party congress

The China Post staff

The Taiwan Solidarity Union (TSU), the political group of former President and Kuomintang Chairman Lee Teng-hui, yesterday officially informed the Ministry of Interior (MOI) of its plan to hold an inauguration congress on Aug. 12, and submitted the draft party charter. The TSU is poised to become the 95th political party in Taiwan. TSU spokesman Su Chin-chiang, accompanied by 25 TSU candidates who will run for legislative seats in early December, also sent invitations to MOI officials to witness the congress. Su said he was not directly registering with the MOI but was keeping officials informed of the progress in organizing the new political party. Officials said the TSU has to abide by the standard procedure for official registration and the MOI has no intention of giving special treatment to the political group. Former President Lee is organizing the TSU for the purpose of helping incumbent President Chen Shui-bian and his Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) gain control of a majority of seats in the legislative branch so as to maintain political stability and ensure economic development. Vice Interior Minister Lee Yi-yang, a close protege of President Chen, confirmed that the TSU was to notify his ministry regarding the party’s inauguration congress. After the congress, related paperwork from the MOI will take at least three to five days to process. As long as a party does not advocate communism or the division of national territory, and its name is not excessively similar to that of an existing party, Lee explained, the party’s application for registration will usually be granted. TSU spokesman Su said the group has also sent invitations to leaders of all political parties and factions, including KMT Chairman Lien Chan and People First Party (PFP) Chairman James Soong to take part in the occasion. No confirmation for the presence of Lien or Soong has been made yet, but both President Lee and President Chen will address the congress. Please see TSU on page

Former Interior Minister Huang Chu-wen, who is taking direct orders from Lee on the handling of the daily operations, is expected to serve as party chairman while Su is likely to be appointed secretary general. Lee, who still maintains valid KMT membership, will be respected as the TSU’s spiritual leader. He will personally train the candidates, help raise campaign funds, and solicit votes. Su said the TSU’s goals are to stabilize political situations, revive the economy, solidify democracy, and make Taiwan stronger. It will field about 40 candidates to run in every constituency for legislative seats, except for the frontline islands of Kinmen and Matsu. The TSU has been recruiting candidates mainly from other political parties. The tactic worries the DPP and angers the KMT. DPP Chairman Frank Hsieh said yesterday that the TSU should nominate only those who have the chance to win instead of recklessly rounding up people. Otherwise, he said, the party will not only affect the DPP’s seats for legislators-at-large but will also run counter to former President Lee’s good intentions. Hsieh, who had discussed the issue with Lee, said the TSU should help enhance the DPP’s strength rather than weaken its position. Hsieh worries that some TSU members want to join the election “just for the sake of election.” If these people win only a small amount of the ballots, they may take away votes from the DPP.