President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) yesterday began a series of intensive meetings with Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) lawmakers, as he sought to heal the rift caused by the party’s much-criticized revocation of Legislative Speaker Wang Jin-pyng’s (王金平) membership over allegations of illegal lobbying.
Ma and Premier Jiang Yi-huah (江宜樺) both appealed for “party unity,” urging lawmakers “to refrain from giving the Democratic Progressive Party [DPP] an opportunity that it can take advantage of,” KMT Policy Committee chief executive Lin Hung-chih (林鴻池) said after a meeting.
The meeting between KMT government officials and lawmakers was held yesterday afternoon to consolidate the party’s position on various issues that will be tackled when the new legislative session starts today.
In a departure from past practice, Wang was not invited to the meeting. The KMT said this was because his party membership has been rescinded — although the Taipei District Court has granted Wang’s injunction against the party’s move to revoke his membership and invalidate his status as head of the legislature.
About 50 lawmakers — out of the total 63 — showed up for the meeting, but a number of them just signed in and left. Only 10 spoke out unbidden at the meeting.
KMT Legislator Lin Te-fu (林德福) said Ma dismissed conspiracy theories that he went after Wang because of a plot seeking his ouster and rebutted criticism characterizing the incident as a political struggle between Wang and him.
Despite divisions among KMT lawmakers over the case, there was a consensus that “the KMT caucus would continue its support for President Ma” while showing their “respect for Speaker Wang,” Lin Te-fu said.
A number of KMT lawmakers close to Wang — including Wong Chung-chun (翁重鈞), Wang Hui-mei (王惠美), Lee Hung-chun (李鴻鈞) and Lu Chia-chen (盧嘉辰), who all showed up at the airport on Tuesday last week to greet Wang on his return from an overseas trip to Malaysia where he attended his daughter’s wedding — were absent from the meeting.
Ma also began to hold small group discussions with KMT lawmakers last night, Presidential Office spokesperson Li Chia-fei (李佳霏) said.
The 63 KMT lawmakers were divided into seven groups to have dinner with Ma beginning last night to seek their views on the Wang issue, Li said.
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