Appealing to Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) party members across the nation, Taipei City Mayor Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) promised yesterday that if he is elected to the KMT chairmanship in July, he will push for the party's top decision-making body to make a tour of the nation and will establish a youth corps for the new generation of pan-blue supporters.
"If I become party chairman, I will have Central Standing Committee meetings held in different locations all over the country to listen to the voice of the people. I will also establish a youth corps to inject new blood into the party," Ma said yesterday in Changhua County while campaigning for the KMT's July 16 party chairmanship election.
Ma also emphasized yesterday a previous promise that if made chairman, he will resolve the party's beleaguered financial situation and use funds to help party employees.
Ma's promise was an expansion of an earlier pledge to have the KMT's Central Standing Committee move its meetings to either central or southern Taiwan at appropriate times to better connect with the party's supporters in those areas.
Ma is running as one of two competitors for the position, which is widely seen as a stepping stone to a pan-blue nomination in the 2008 presidential election. Ma's campaign has been troubled, however, by rising support within certain factions of the pan-blue camp for incumbent party chairman Lien Chan (連戰) to run again for the chairmanship. These voices have become increasingly louder in recent weeks, given Lien's high-profile trip to China and repeated assurances of support from Ma's opponent, Legislative Speaker Wang Jin-pyng (王金平).
While Wang, a KMT vice chairman, is also running a full-scale campaign for the KMT's top seat, he has said recently that he would drop out of the chairmanship race to support Lien should Lien decide to run again for the chairmanship.
Ma has refrained from making similar statements, referring only to repeated comments by Lien earlier this year that he believes it is time to hand over the KMT's reins to the next generation and thus will not run for re-election.
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