Thu, Jun 09, 2005 - Page 1 News List

Lien gives up the KMT chairmanship

By Caroline Hong  /  STAFF REPORTER

The movement to see incumbent Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) Chairman Lien Chan (連戰) remain another term in the party's top post died a quiet death yesterday, as the deadline for candidate registration passed with no sign of a Lien sign-up.

Yesterday marked the last day that party members hoping to enter the KMT's July 16 party chairmanship election could register their candidacy. While Lien had made no clear statement as to whether or not he would enter the chairmanship race up until the last moment to register yesterday afternoon, the hopes of the movement calling for Lien to run died, as Lien choose to quietly let the deadline pass.

Speaking yesterday morning at the party's weekly Central Standing Committee meeting however, Lien encouraged both chairmanship candidates, KMT vice chairmen Legislative Speaker Wang Jin-pyng (王金平) and Taipei Mayor Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九), to work to usher in a new phase for the party.

"In regards to the party's development, I have already made myself clear last time. Since registration to enter the party chairmanship race has already ended, I hope that both vice chairmen will hold a `gentlemanly competition,' go full speed ahead, and bring in a new stage for the KMT," Lien said, in comments that were interpreted as indicative of his decision not to run.

"I believe that all will continue to love the party and the nation and to work together. There are many issues that should not be taken lightly; however, we must have confidence and resolve, and use an optimistic attitude to welcome the mutual future," Lien said.

While Lien has stated previously that he has no plans to enter the chairmanship election, a small movement of vocal KMT supporters had called for Lien to run. Only Lien, the movement's supporters had claimed, is capable to keeping the KMT united in the face of the competition between the rising stars Wang and Ma.

Lien's unstated decision to not run, brought up questions yesterday from Central Standing Committee members as to his future.

Speaking at the meeting, party Legislator Hou Tsai-feng (侯彩鳳) suggested that Lien spearhead the party's efforts in the year-end mayoral and county commissioner elections, despite not being the party's leader any longer.

Hou, who was the voice of the movement calling for a third Lien turn as chairman, said that she hopes to form a campaign committee for the year-end elections. She said she hoped Lien can become the committee's convener.

It is Lien's duty, Hou said, to take responsibility and complete the party's efforts in the election, given that those efforts began in his term.

"When you have already given birth to a child, you can't say that you won't raise it," Hou said.

Speaking in reference to a previous call from the Ma and Wang camps that the party's bylaws be amended to create an honorary chairman seat for Lien, Hou said that she felt an honorary chairmanship was letting Lien off in his responsibilities to the party.

"I don't recommend that you become an honorary chairman -- for you, that's just too easy," Hou said.

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