KMT to push for referendum on corruption as feud continues

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 24 May, 2007, 12:00am
UPDATED : Thursday, 24 May, 2007, 12:00am

The Kuomintang is to push for a referendum on corruption, in what is the latest in a string of politically charged moves that have highlighted longstanding ideological feuds in Taiwan.

'The KMT will mobilise all members to push for an anti-corruption referendum and reclaim national assets stolen by corrupt officials,' said Wu Poh-hsiung, head of the largest opposition party.

Mr Wu said yesterday the party would also ask KMT-controlled city and county governments to erect 'anti-corruption' monuments in support of attempts by the Taipei city government to counter the government's latest name-change efforts.

President Chen Shui-bian wants to erase the legacy of the late KMT leader Chiang Kai-shek and weaken the influence of the KMT.

Taipei Mayor Hau Lung-bin, of the KMT, had announced that a section of Kaitakelan Boulevard in front of the Presidential Office would be designated Anti-Corruption Democracy Square. The move is an apparent jab at changing the name of a memorial hall named after Chiang.

Mr Hau also ordered the removal of two banners the Chen government used to cover the stone tablet on the memorial's outer walls bearing Chiang's name on the grounds that the name change violated laws, including heritage protection statutes.

The removal drew protests from Democratic Progressive Party officials, who called Mr Hau a running dog of the KMT and a slave of Chiang.

The Education Ministry supervises management of the memorial and tried to put the banners back, but the city government warned that they would be pulled down again and a heavy fine imposed.

The fight over the name changes has been called childish by some critics, but pundits said it reflected longstanding ideological feuds.

'Ideological feuds have worsened since Chen Shui-bian came to power,' said George Tsai Wei, an analyst at the Institute of International Relations. 'By stressing Taiwanese identity and accusing the opposition of betraying Taiwan by siding with the mainland, he has divided the island which only hurts Taiwan.'