Taiwan lawmaker quits party, threatens suicide

An opposition Nationalist Party, or Kuomintang (KMT), parliamentarian Friday quit the party and said he would not rule out killing himself if the KMT was defeated in Taiwan's March 22 presidential election.

Taiwan lawmaker quits party, threatens suicide
Fei Hung-tai offered a deep bow and apology to the public over a melee that saw supporters of Frank Hsieh, the presidential candidate of ruling Democratic Progressive Party (DPP), clashing with police Wednesday night.

"I have withdrawn my party membership to take responsibility over the clash," Fei said at a news conference.

The melee, which also cost the job of Finance Minister Ho Chih-chin, who resigned Thursday over his involvement in the incident, occurred after Hsieh's supporters struggled with police to try to stop them from taking Fei and three other KMT lawmakers to safety.

The incident, the first violence in the run-up to the March presidential election, took place after Ho accompanied Fei and his three other colleagues to Hsieh's campaign headquarters. The KMT politicians questioned whether the building was illegally occupied by Hsieh.

The building was leased to Hsieh by First Bank, which is a government-controlled bank supervised by Ho's Finance Ministry, but the opposition lawmakers suspected that the bank had allowed the DPP candidate to use the building free of charge.

Alleging influence peddling, the lawmakers demanded that Ho come with them to the building for an inspection. Supporters and aides there confronted the lawmakers and barred them from leaving the building, claiming illegal intrusion and theft.

Police later came to their rescue, resulting in the clash that saw a dozen supporters and aides being injured.

Immediately after the incident, Hsieh and his DPP spared no time to attack his popular KMT opponent Ma Ying-jeou, saying it shows Ma has no ability to control the KMT lawmakers other than repeatedly apologizing to him and the public.

On Friday, Hsieh said the incident proved the KMT, which holds the majority in parliament, is used to usurping power.

"After they obtained the majority, they believe they could do what they want," shouted Hsieh in a campaign rally in northern Taiwan.

"Today, they can check my office. Tomorrow, they can check newspaper offices, and the day after tomorrow, they can check TV stations and next week your homes," said Hsieh in a bid to remind voters of the authoritarian past of the KMT, which ruled the island with an iron grip for five decades until after the DPP won the presidential election in 2000.

Fei, who already resigned as the KMT whip in parliament after KMT presidential candidate Ma Ying-jeou said Fei's act was improper, said he could consider committing suicide if the incident caused the defeat of Ma in the race with Hsieh.

"I feel bad," he said. "If Mr Ma was defeated by the DPP because of the incident, I would not rule out ending my life," said Fei in tears.

Güncelleme Tarihi: 14 Mart 2008, 16:57