Opposition People First Party Legislator Diane Lee (李慶安) announced yesterday that she would rejoin the Kuomintang, the fourth legislator to jump ship since early last year.
Lee said she would soon complete the formalities required to restore her KMT membership, a move she said was being made to meet the expectations of her constituents.
The legislator said she openly advocated the merger of pan-blue allies the PFP and KMT in 2004, but with the lack of progress in the proposed merger after last month's local elections, most of her supporters have urged her to rejoin the KMT.
Some are speculating that Lee changed parties in preparation for her bid to run for Taipei mayor, but she was unwilling to comment on those plans yesterday.
The PFP was formed by a group of former KMT mavericks led by Soong, who ran against the KMT nominee Lien Chan (連戰) in the 2000 presidential election. But both lost to the Democratic Progressive Party's Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁).
The KMT headed by Lien and the PFP headed by Soong have maintained cooperation over the past years as a pan-blue alliance, with Soong even becoming Lien's running mate in the 2004 presidential election.
Following the defeat of their ticket in 2004, a group of PFP politicians called for a merger of the KMT and PFP. Differences over the party line widened within the PFP after Soong held a high-profile meeting with President Chen Shui-bian in February 2005, which enraged many of the party's supporters.
A number of PFP politicians have quit the party to rejoin the KMT in the past year. They include former Legislator Chou Hsi-wei (周錫瑋), who restored his KMT membership in April 2005, and Diane Lee's brother, Lee Ching-hua (李慶華).
Legislator Chiu Yi (邱毅) also left the party and is now an independent lawmaker, though still aligned with the pan-blue camp. More PFP politicians are reportedly planning similar moves.
Commenting on Lee's decision, PFP spokesman Hsieh Kung-ping (謝公秉) said the party understood it and wished Lee's success in obtaining the KMT's nomination for the mayoral election.