Mon, Feb 14, 2005 - Page 1 News List

KMT group backs Wang as chairman

SIGNATURE DRIVE While Wang is being coy about his intentions, a group of KMT legislators began soliciting support for his expected bid for the spot

By Joy Su  /  STAFF REPORTER

As the Lunar New Year holiday comes to a close, blue camp politics are beginning to heat up again, with a group of Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) legislators throwing their support behind Legislative Speaker Wang Jin-pyng (王金平) for the party's chairmanship.

Tainan County KMT Legislator and Central Standing Committee member Lee Chuan-chiao (李全教) yesterday initiated a move to get signatures from legislators to support electing Wang as party chairman.

In a phone interview with the Taipei Times, Lee said that so far around 30 to 40 legislators had agreed to put their names on a joint statement in support of Wang. The goal is to get at least two-thirds of KMT legislators to sign their support, he added.

Lee said, however, that the joint statement would respect Wang's wishes regarding the position and would be effective only if current party Chairman Lien Chan (連戰) decided not to pursue another term as chairman.

The joint statement is the first substantial move to put Wang into the chairmanship position since the conclusion of the New Year holiday, but party heavyweights have yet to make clear where they stand on the issue. While the party is slated to elect its chairman in May, no candidates have formally stepped forward yet.

Neither has Lien clearly stated his decision to step down at the end of his term, although he previously hinted ambiguously that it was time to "hand the baton on."

While the media has pointed to Taipei City Mayor Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) and Wang for the position, Wang has remained tight-lipped on his plans for the chairmanship.

"I've tried to dissuade them [Lee] from doing this and hope that there won't be similar moves," Wang said yesterday in response to media inquiries.

Wang further reiterated that he hoped Lien would stay on at the party's helm. He also denied media reports that indicated he was planning to meet with People First Party (PFP) Chairman James Soong (宋楚瑜) on the matter.

Lee, however, plans to continue to garner support for Wang despite Wang's request.

Ma also chose to play down the situation, refraining from making clear whether he planned to run for the party chairmanship.

"When the time is right, I will report to everyone on this," Ma said yesterday without elaborating on when the time would be right.

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