Former DPP chief to defect to the opposition

TAIPEI, Taiwan, The China Post Staff

Shih Ming-teh, a former chairman the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP), yesterday maintained that he would not join an opposition alliance proposed by the Kuomintang (KMT) and People First Party (PFP). Meanwhile, the KMT also jammed the brakes on a formal “Grand Alliance” “pan-blue” merger and instead described it as a “political slogan” that could unite the opposition. Shih said he has also warned Hsu Hsin-liang, another ex-DPP chief, against helping the KMT and PFP form an alliance for the year-end legislative elections, according to the China Times Express. Both Shih and Hsu have quit the DPP. While Shih has chosen to stay away from the current political disputes, Hsu has leapt to the support of the opposition, trying to create a force strong enough to monitor the ruling party. But Shih remarked that Hsu is in an awkward position being an outsider to the two opposition parties and a former DPP leader. Shih said he believes Hsu is not seeking any personal gains, but is likely to find himself under fire from both the ruling and opposition camps who would question his motives. Shih also revealed that he has tried to talk independent Legislator Sisy Chen — a former DPP spokeswoman — into giving up her adviser role for the KMT. Having played a crucial role in devising KMT Chairman Lien Chan’s campaign strategies for the March 20 presidential election, Chen has taken the blame for the opposition candidate’s defeat. Shih also has advice for both the DPP and the opposition, according to the newspaper. The DPP must accept the opposition’s checks and balances, Shih said, while the opposition must face the fact the presidential race is over. The KMT and PFP want to extend their cooperation in the presidential race — with the latter’s Chairman James Soong as Lien’s running mate — to the year-end legislative elections. The two parties’ earlier plan of a merger were dropped after seeing much objection from their own ranks. On Tuesday, the KMT admitted that the “Grand Alliance” would not have the legal status needed for the at large legislative seats to be distributed to political parties according to their vote gains. The individual parties’ autonomy would also be lost in the alliance, KMT Secretary General Lin Feng-cheng said. But he said the alliance could become a “political slogan” serving to coordinate the allies’ campaigns. KMT spokeswoman Kuo Shu-chun said yesterday the idea of a “Grand Alliance” could serve a “spiritual” purpose if it could not be materialized.