By Hsieh Kuo-lien, The China Post
The opposition People First Party (PFP) vice chairman apologized last night after the New Party (NP) harshly criticized PFP leaders for breaking up the opposition camp’s supporters. The dispute surfaced on Monday when PFP Vice Chairman Chang Chau-hsiung used a new term “pro-Soong alliance” rather than “opposition group” to describe Taiwan’s opposition forces, in an apparent effort to raise more support for PFP Chairman James Soong. The PFP vice chairman, Chang Chau-hsiung also criticized high-ranking New Party officials, saying that the NP officials should be responsible for destroying cooperation between the main opposition Kuomintang (KMT), the NP and the PFP. However, Chang’s combative language immediately inflamed the already frayed NP-PFP relations, while the NP put an advertisement yesterday on several Chinese-language newspapers, stressing that there is no pro-Soong alliance. Describing the creation of the term pro-Soong alliance as an explicit attempt by Soong to make himself a “god,” a NP leader, Hsieh Chi-ta hoped that Soong would not to promote “personal worship.” She said that although Soong received more than 4 millions votes in the 2000 presidential election, she warn that he should not overestimate himself. Hsieh accused Soong of being “arrogant” after the PFP became one of the major opposition parties in the country. “James Soong should not forget that the New Party had given both Chang Chau-hsiung and him full support in the 2000 presidential election. But now the PFP fails to cherish our friendship by making every effort to grab votes,” she added. She went on to say that the term pro-Soong alliance has produced a serious problem for the opposition camp, and that Soong should step forward to clarify the PFP’s real intentions. Hsieh’s vehement objection to the term pro-Soong alliance eventually led to Chang’s apology. The PFP vice chairman said sorry last night at a news conference, saying that “What I said has caused our friends’ dissatisfaction, our supporters’ dismay, while the remarks have also bothered our chairman and hurt our party.” “I apologize for what I said and I will conduct a review of the remarks.” In response to Chang’s apology, NP spokesman Kao Hsin-wu later told reporters that “Chang’s apology makes us feel better now, and we will not make a note of his previous criticism.” “If PFP Chairman James Soong would come forward to comment, it will be perfect.” PFP and KMT members also scrambled yesterday to clarify that cementing the three parties’ ties has not become out of reach. Chou Hsi-wei, the PFP whip told reporters yesterday in the Legislative Yuan, that he remained hopeful that the three opposition parties would work side by side to help the camp become a winner in the legislative, mayoral and county commissioner elections scheduled for Dec. 1. Chou is still confident that the three parties can reach an agreement on the their cooperation prior to the year-end elections, while the three parties’ officials are very likely to work out a plan for the cooperation in the coming three months. Please see PFP on page
Meanwhile, KMT lawmaker Chin Huei-chu urged both the leaders and supporters of the three parties to scrap verbal attacks on each other. She anticipated that the three parties’ leaders and their aides could have meetings in the near future in an effort to resolve the difference among them.