Mon, Jul 27, 2009 - Page 1 News List

No surprises as Ma elected next KMT chairman

By Mo Yan-chih  /  STAFF REPORTER

As expected, President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) yesterday was elected to serve as the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) chairman.

Ma, the sole candidate, received 285,354 of 303,987 votes or 93.87 percent. Turnout was 56.95 percent.

A total of 17,619 ballots were invalid, while there was a discrepancy with 1,014 votes. KMT Organization and Development Committee deputy chief Huang Chong-hsian (黃重憲) said some members had mistakenly cast ballots for the chairman election in the boxes for the party delegate election, or took ballots but did not cast them.

The party also elected 1,171 delegates. Results for the party delegate election were not in yet as of the press time.

The vote-counting process was delayed for more than an hour and a half. The KMT planned to announce the results at about 6pm, but the result was not revealed until 7:40pm.

Huang said the vote-counting system in Taoyuan County was suspended for a time. Some cities and counties’ decision to count votes for the chairmanship election and delegate election at the same time also caused delays, he said.

Ma arrived at his campaign headquarters soon after the result was in. He promised to enhance cooperation between the party and the government, deal with party assets and continue efforts to communicate with the opposition parties.

“Enhancing party reform demands immediate effort and I want the KMT to become a party of integrity, democracy and effectiveness,” he said.

Ma lauded outgoing KMT Chairman Wu Poh-hsiung (吳伯雄) for his achievements in helping promote cross-strait relations and said the party would continue implementing the government’s cross-strait policies.

Ma later visited KMT headquarters to thank party workers.

When asked whether or not Chinese President Hu Jintao (胡錦濤) would send a congratulatory statement, Ma said China had sent such a message when he was elected as KMT chairman in 2005, and so it was expected that this would be repeated.

Ma will formally take over the party leadership at the KMT’s national congress on Sept. 12. He served as KMT chairman from 2005 to 2007 but resigned after being indicted for alleged misuse of his special allowance fund as Taipei mayor.

“The reason I ran for election was to shoulder responsibility, rather than expanding my powers or testing my popularity,” Ma reiterated.

“The most important thing is to seek closer cooperation between the party and the government and to push through government policies more effectively,” he said.

As chairman, Ma will face his first major challenge in finalizing nominees for the Yunlin legislative by-election and the Hualien County and Taoyuan County commissioner elections.

The party’s Central Standing Committee is likely to be restructured after Ma takes over. It is expected he will cut the number of committee members from 32 to 16, and include more Cabinet members, academics and local government heads on the committee.

Also See: ANALYSIS: Ma facing challenges with KMT

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