Tue, Apr 03, 2007 - Page 1 News List

Wang Jin-pyng to skip KMT primary

UNFAIR COMPETITION?Wang said the election process was biased in favor of another candidate and slammed the party for not taking the ethnicity issue into account

By Shih Hsiu-chuan and Flora Wang  /  STAFF REPORTERS

Legislative Speaker Wang Jin-pyng smiles at a press conference at the legislature yesterday at which he announced he would not be participating in the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) presidential primary because he claimed it would be unfair.

PHOTO: CNA

Legislative Speaker Wang Jin-pyng (王金平) yesterday said he would not be taking part in the Chinese Nationalist Party's (KMT) presidential primary, a move that could signal a repeat of the division that caused the party to lose the 2000 presidential election.

"The primary would never be a fair competition as the rules of the game were tailor-made for someone from the very beginning ? I will not be claiming a registration form for the party primary," Wang told a press conference.

The KMT's presidential primary campaign officially starts today and candidates must register before Thursday.

Wang issued a strong statement slamming the party's primary process, although he once again remained tight-lipped about his own presidential ambitions.

Wang said that three factors would influence the KMT's failure or success in the next presidential election -- the ethnicity issue, the matter of the party's stolen assets and the lawsuit against former chairman Ma Ying-jeou's (馬英九) concerning his alleged corruption.

"There have been discussions at home and abroad, as well as in public and in academia, about the appropriateness of the political elite of a minority ethnic group governing a majority ethnic group. The party has to think about this seriously," Wang said.

While Wang didn't elaborate, it is believed he was questioning Ma's suitability because of his Mainlander origins.

Meanwhile, Wang urged the party to return its stolen assets to the public, an argument which runs counter to Ma handling of the issue.

KMT records show that since August 2005 under Ma's chairmanship, the party sold five assets -- its Policy Research and Development Department, three media outlets and its former headquarters -- for a total of NT$11.4 billion (US$340 million).

Wang also called on the party to consider how to deal with the many unknowns that may arise during the litigation process of Ma's lawsuit.

"Ma is going to register for the primary in the next two days, and he is to appear in court for a hearing [today] ? The party needs a crisis-management mechanism to make sure it will not lose its candidate and not be absent from the presidential election," Wang said.

In the 2000 presidential election now People First Party (PFP) Chairman James Soong (宋楚瑜) ran as an independent after losing the KMT presidential nomination to then-vice president Lien Chan (連戰).

Asked to comment on Wang's remarks, KMT Secretary-General Wu Den-yih (吳敦義) urged the speaker to say exactly which primary mechanism discriminates against him.

KMT Organization and Development Committee Director Liao Fung-te (廖風德) told reporters in a telephone interview that Wang's blaming the party's primary mechanism was unreasonable because the mechanism had been in effect since 2000, when Wang was still a KMT vice chairman.

Liao said Wang blamed the mechanism because "he knew very well" he would not stand a chance against Ma in the party's presidential primary.

"This only shows that the legislative speaker cannot stand to lose," he said.

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