Tue, May 31, 2005 - Page 1 News List

Lien candidacy likely as father dumps Mayor Ma

By Caroline Hong  /  STAFF REPORTER , WITH CNA

The push for Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) Chairman Lien Chan (連戰) to remain as KMT leader gained momentum yesterday as supporters prepared to register his candidacy for the next chairmanship, while Taipei Mayor Ma Ying-jeou's (馬英九) campaign suffered an embarrassing blow when Ma's own father threw his support behind Lien.

Yesterday was a busy morning at KMT headquarters in Taipei, with both Yunlin County Council Speaker Chen Ching-hsiu (陳清秀) and Ma's father, retired general Ma Ho-ling (馬鶴凌), visiting to support the Chen-led bid for Lien's re-election.

"I have already begun a collection of signatures, and the deposit needed for registration is not a problem," Chen said, adding that he planned to register Lien as a candidate in the next couple of days.

In an embarrassing development for Ma Ying-jeou, Ma Ho-ling urged Lien to run for another term as chairman.

Ma Ho-ling said that his son "has no experience" in party operations, and that only Lien could unite the pan-blue camp.

In response, Ma Ying-jeou yesterday said that he respected his father's opinion, but planned to continue with his campaign for the party chairmanship.

Chen said he had collected between 30,000 and 50,000 signatures for Lien's bid and that the required deposit had already been dealt with. However, Lien's "agreement" to run had not yet been "settled," he said.

According to KMT regulations, party members who wish to run in the July 16 chairmanship race must deposit NT$1 million with the party and deliver a petition with the signatures of at least 3 percent of the party membership -- or a minimum of 33,000 signatures.

Chen did not say if he was optimistic about "receiving Lien's authorization" to go ahead with the registration, but he did say that he was in contact with Lien's office and that there should be "no problem."

However, he said, Lien was still standing by his previous statements that he had no intention of running.

In attempting to register Lien for the election, Chen said that he was bringing the voice of the people to the KMT headquarters.

While Lien has said on numerous occasions that he has no plans to run, supporters have argued that only Lien can unite the KMT. They contend that a contest between KMT vice chairmen Ma and Legislative Speaker Wang Jin-pyng (王金平) will only end up dividing the party.

Only if Lien continues as chairman, they say, will the KMT be able to win the 2008 presidential election.

This story has been viewed 4743 times.

Comments will be moderated. Keep comments relevant to the article. Remarks containing abusive and obscene language, personal attacks of any kind or promotion will be removed and the user banned. Final decision will be at the discretion of the Taipei Times.

TOP top