More speculation about the infighting between President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) and Legislative Speaker Wang Jin-pyng (王金平) emerged yesterday with a magazine report that Ma had forced Wang’s removal as a pre-emptive measure to safeguard his chairmanship of the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT).
The cover story in the latest edition of the Chinese-language weekly The Journalist (新新聞) said the alleged influence peddling scandal surrounding Wang was orchestrated by Ma to foil a plot to have Wang succeed Ma as KMT chairman should the party lose in the seven-in-one elections next year.
The story said that several major KMT figures, including former party chairmen Lien Chan (連戰) and Wu Po-hsiung (吳伯雄), Taipei Mayor Hau Lung-bin (郝龍斌) and New Taipei City (新北市) Mayor Eric Chu (朱立倫), have been scheming against Ma.
The story said the group planned to get a resolution passed at the party’s convention on Sept. 29 demanding that Ma, who was re-elected chairman in June, take full responsibility for the party’s performance in next year’s elections and hand over his position to Wang.
The Special Investigation Division of the Supreme Prosecutors’ Office has accused Wang of illegally lobbying for Democratic Progressive Party caucus whip Ker Chien-ming (柯建銘) in a breach of trust case by urging then-minister of justice Tseng Yung-fu (曾勇夫) and Taiwan High Prosecutors’ Office Head Prosecutor Chen Shou-huang (陳守煌) to use their influence to stop an appeal of a not-guilty verdict for Ker.
While the allegations, made on Friday last week, still have to be investigated by the Control Yuan, the KMT’s Central Evaluation and Discipline Committee decided on Wednesday to revoke Wang’s membership, which, if upheld, would force him to step down as legislator-at-large and as speaker.
The allegations against Wang have sparked various conspiracy theories involving Ma: that he wanted to defeat party factions close to Wang in the party’s Central Standing Committee election on Saturday last week, that he was unhappy with the stalled review in the legislature of the cross-strait service trade agreement and the proposed referendum on the Fourth Nuclear Power Plant in Gongliao District (貢寮), New Taipei City, or that he wanted to consolidate his leadership in the party to ensure he plays a key role in nominations for next year’s elections.