The Presidential Office yesterday rebutted speculation that President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) would soon take the role of Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) chairman, emphasizing that the president’s top priority was to revive the economy.
Presidential Office Spokesman Wang Yu-chi (王郁琦) said it was too early to tell whether Ma would be interested in having a second stint as KMT chairman.
“The most important task at the moment is to make an all-out effort to resuscitate the economy and push government policies,” he said.
Wang declined to say when Ma would make his position known, adding that the Presidential Office maintained good communication with the party and that the president’s policies received strong party support.
Wang made the remarks after KMT Secretary-General Wu Den-yi (吳敦義) said that Ma and KMT Chairman Wu Poh-hsiung (吳伯雄) would decide by June whether to run in the election for party chairman.
The Liberty Times (the Taipei Times’ sister paper) yesterday quoted KMT sources as saying that some party members would like to see Ma lead the party because of recent tension between the party and the government.
The party was upset that the government got involved in the nomination for Taipei County commissioner and would like to use the opportunity to compel Ma to come clean on his intentions, they said.
The sources said Ma should support power-sharing in the party, including forces supporting Chairman Wu Poh-hsiung, former chairman Lien Chan (連戰), Legislative Speaker Wang Jin-pyng (王金平) and local political stars such as Taichung Mayor Jason Hu (胡志強) and Taoyuan County Commissioner Eric Chu (朱立倫).
A number of KMT lawmakers yesterday expressed opposition to having the president double as party chairman.
“People should make the best of their talents. There are many talents in the KMT. We do not necessarily have to have one person assume many positions. We will achieve more if we share the responsibility,” KMT Legislator Lo Shu-lei (羅淑蕾) said.
KMT caucus deputy secretary-general Lu Hsueh-chang (呂學樟) agreed, saying Ma might not have time to take care of party affairs.
KMT Legislator Chiu Yi (邱毅) said: “This is an idea initiated by ass-kissers” close to the president.
But KMT Legislator Lee Chia-chin (李嘉進) supported the idea, saying the president should run for chairman now that the KMT is in power.
KMT Legislator John Wu (吳志揚), son of Wu Poh-hsiung, dismissed media speculation that his father and Ma were at odds over the matter.
“A 70-year-old does not hold grudges against others,” John Wu said, adding that his father would give priority to party harmony.