The Chinese Nationalist Party’s (KMT) Central Standing Committee yesterday gave a directive telling all local party headquarters to start negotiating with party members to prevent any support for Legislative Speaker Wang Jin-pyng (王金平) surfacing at the national party congress on Sept. 29, sources said.
The conflict between President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) and Wang stems from the Special Investigation Division’s allegations that Wang lobbied former minister of justice Tseng Yung-fu (曾勇夫) and the Taiwan High Prosecutors’ Office head prosecutor not to appeal a case against Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) caucus whip Ker Chien-ming (柯建銘).
The sources said that KMT branches in central and southern Taiwan are preparing to sign a joint petition to be delivered at the congress demanding that the party’s Central Evaluation and Discipline Committee reverse its decision to revoke Wang’s party membership.
However, with the Central Standing Committee warning on Wednesday last week that a popular perception that the Ma administration was “politically persecuting” Wang would have great repercussions at the local level across the nation, Ma has realized the severity of the situation and directed KMT Secretary-General Tseng Yung--chuan (曾永權) to issue the directive yesterday, a source said.
The source said that the heads of local party branch offices have already received an official notice of the directive to visit their local party members in person.
On the surface the visit is to ask whether the representative has any particular issue they wish to raise at the congress, but it is actually the party’s way of conveying the “regretful, but necessary decision” to revoke Wang’s party membership, the source said.
The source also said that if during the visit the branch heads discover that party members have strong feelings on the subject and they cannot be persuaded to keep silent, they are to alert party headquarters so a visit can be arranged by high-ranking party members from the nearest municipality or city.
The Central Standing Committee wants the congress to proceed smoothly without any incidents, including anyone standing to speak up for Wang, the source said.
The source said that the ploy has worked in the past, but that its effectiveness this time — especially in the south — remains to be seen.
However, the source said the directive has already had an effect, pointing to one particular party member in central Taiwan who had strongly voiced his opposition, but had now toned down his views after a “negotiation.”
Instead of saying that the decision to revoke Wang’s membership should be reversed, the party member is now saying that Ma must have a reason for making such allegations, adding that if Ma did not stay his current course, it would only harm the party.
Meanwhile, some KMT administrative officials said that they have heard rumors about local party representatives wanting to speak about the issue at the congress, but the party has yet to see any tangible signs of this happening.
Either the local branches would be successful in persuading representatives not to speak up, or representatives would bide their time and spring it on the congress, an official said, adding that it was very hard to say what will happen.