Legislative Speaker Wang Jin-pyng (王金平) yesterday said he has no intention of vying for the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) chairmanship amid doubts about his allegiance to President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九), who doubles as KMT chairman.
Wang said he had already told Ma that he would never seek the helm of the party because as the legislative speaker, he has to remain neutral, which he said would be difficult if he were the KMT chairman.
Ma announced on Wednesday afternoon that he would seek re-election as KMT chairman next year during the party’s Central Standing Committee meeting.
A few hours after Ma’s announcement, Wang met with former Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) chairperson Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) for dinner at her apartment, sparking speculation over his allegiance.
The meeting between Wang and Tsai was supposed to be a private event — until a netizen posted footage of Wang’s limousine parked near Tsai’s apartment in Yonghe District (永和), New Taipei City (新北市), on YouTube at 8:50pm.
The netizen, named “milhouse,” said he took the footage at about 8:20pm while he was driving home from work. He said Wang’s limousine was parked facing the wrong direction, with the headlights left on, which caught his attention because they interfered with his vision and he nearly had an accident.
The case was reminiscent of an incident in May last year, when central bank Governor Perng Fai-nan (彭淮南) visited Tsai at her apartment on Dunhua S Road in Taipei. Tsai was then said to be trying to persuade Perng to be her vice presidential running mate. The private meeting was reported by the Chinese-language United Daily News the next day.
DPP Legislator Pan Men-an (潘孟安) yesterday said he did not believe that the footage of Wang’s visit with Tsai was taken by accident by an ordinary netizen, adding that he suspected Wang’s whereabouts were being closely monitored by the Ma administration.
Wang downplayed the speculation, saying it has become common for ordinary people to upload on-the-spot footage because technology has made it easier.
Wang said he had called on Ma at his residence on Monday, one day after concluding his one-week trip to Japan. He said he told Ma then that he would not run for KMT chairman and that he would instead throw his full support behind the president.
Ma — as well as the premier — knew beforehand that he planned to meet opposition leaders to discuss matters related to the upcoming extra legislative session, scheduled for Tuesday to Friday next week, Wang said.
Chen supported Wang’s statement, saying Wang did mention his plan to visit opposition leaders, including Tsai and DPP Chairman Su Tseng-chang (蘇貞昌).
Separately yesterday, the KMT dismissed the DPP’s accusations that it was the KMT that exposed the private meeting.
“President Ma has vowed to end illegal spying acts and political interference in media outlets since taking office, and the government has implemented the promise in the past years. We urge the DPP to show proof to back up its accusations,” KMT spokesperson Ma Wei-kuo (馬瑋國) said.
Additional reporting by Mo Yan-chih