Wed, Jul 16, 2003 - Page 1 News List

KMT to expel renegade candidate in by-election

GOING INDEPENDENT Wu Kuo-tung has until the KMT Central Standing Committee meets today to give up his candidacy in the Hualien by-election or be expelled

By Sandy Huang  /  STAFF REPORTER

Hualien County commissioner candidate Wu Kuo-tung, center, prays at a temple yesterday to show his determination to run.

PHOTO: CHIU HSIEN-MING, TAIPEI TIMES

The KMT's Evaluation and Discipline Committee yesterday decided to throw Wu Kuo-tung (吳國棟) out of the party for deciding run against the official KMT candidate in the Hualien County commissioner by-election.

Chen Kang-chin (陳庚金), director-general of the committee, said, "The resolution will be submitted to the party's Central Standing Committee -- the party's highest decision-making body -- for final approval."

The Central Standing Committee, which meets today, is expected to approve the resolution.

The KMT-PFP alliance last month announced that Hsieh Shen-shan (謝深山) would represent it in the by-election. Wu, who failed to secure the alliance's nomination, decided to run as an independent.

KMT Secretary-General Lin Fong-cheng (林豐正) yesterday appealed to Wu to change his mind before the committee meets today.

"We hope that Wu will choose to drop his campaign in the by-election while the going is still good," Lin said.

If Wu is still in the race when the Central Standing Committee meets, the party will definitely discipline him, he said.

KMT Organization and Development Affairs Committee Director Ting Shou-chung (丁守中) traveled to Hualien to try and talk Wu around. But in an apparent attempt to dodge Ting, Wu did not make himself available to meet him.

The threat of expulsion seemed to have done little to deter Wu from running

"I do not fear punishment from the KMT for my actions," Wu said yesterday.

Wu, a former KMT Hualien County commissioner who enjoys popular support from local factions, has won the support of several pan-blue local leaders such as KMT Hualien County Councilor Chung Yi-wen (鍾逸文) and PFP former county commissioner Wu Shui-yun (吳水雲).

However, the KMT was quick to play down suggestions it would discipline members such as Chung who support Wu in the campaign.

It is KMT policy to punish members who act against the interests of the party, such as participating in elections or campaigning on behalf of candidates without the party's consent.

Lin said the party would not consider disciplining other members for the moment as it was still trying to talk them out of supporting Wu.

While the party may be worried that punishing Wu's supporters could generate sympathy for his candidacy, it did not rule out taking action later.

"We will consider, after the election punishments, if any, for those [KMT members] who stump for Wu," Chen said.

The PFP yesterday said that it had no intention of disciplining its members for supporting Wu.

"The PFP will not apply party disciplinary action as a tool to threaten party members to withdraw their support [for Wu]," PFP Chairman James Soong (宋楚瑜) said yesterday.

The party would resort to verbal dissuasion instead, he said.

The PFP also resolved to form a campaign team dedicated to stumping for votes for Hsieh in the by-election.

Hsieh also won the endorsement of New Party co-founder Wang Chien-shien, who defended him from Wu's accusations that he was on good terms with former president Lee Teng-hui (李登輝) and may not be a good representative for the pan-blue camp.

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