Wed, Jan 27, 2016 - Page 1 News List

Yok says offer to chair KMT was a bid for unity

By Stacy Hsu  /  Staff reporter

New Party Chairman Yok Mu-ming speaks during a press conference in Taipei yesterday.

Photo: Chien Jung-fong, Taipei Times

New Party Chairman Yok Mu-ming (郁慕明) yesterday said his recent expression of interest in the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) chairmanship was only meant to demonstrate his broad-mindedness, adding that he did not rule out returning his party to the KMT fold should “the soul of the KMT” be upheld.

At a morning news conference in Taipei, Yok said he only voiced his interest in contending for the KMT chairmanship to demonstrate his magnanimity and throw out an issue that could help the KMT.

“On the eve of the Jan. 16 elections, [former KMT] chairman Eric Chu (朱立倫) clearly stated that if the Republic of China’s [ROC] existence was at risk, there was no point differentiating between the KMT and the New Party or the People First Party [PFP]. He said all pan-blue parties must stick together,” Yok said.

“That is why I decided to make a gesture to respond to Chu’s offer after the elections... Is this offer no longer available after Chu’s resignation as KMT chairman?” Yok asked.

However, KMT Secretary-General Lee Shu-chuan (李四川) on Monday said that Yok, a former KMT member who joined other party comrades in founding the New Party in 1993, was not eligible to enter the March 26 by-election.

Yok said he had expected the KMT to cite his lack of party membership to deny him entry into the race, adding that he respected its decision and would not attempt to register for the election.

“If the KMT is serious about uniting us, it should have welcomed members of the New Party and the PFP to compete for its chairmanship post. Desperate time calls for desperate measures. The KMT ought to be more magnanimous,” Yok said.

Nevertheless, if the KMT was willing to adhere to “the soul of the party” and recognize its history, Yok said he did not rule out letting the New Party return to the KMT.

“However, if some people within the KMT are still unable to see sense, we will wait outside for the KMT to change its name and then go ahead and name ourselves the KMT,” Yok said, referring to calls to remove the word “Chinese” from the KMT’s name to make it more Taiwan-centric.

In related news, KMT Taipei City Councilor Lee Hsin (李新) yesterday picked up a registration form for the by-election at KMT’s headquarters in Taipei and paid the required NT$1.6 million (US$47,440) handling fee.

“The KMT is in freezing winter. The NT$1.6 million fee has prevented younger party members from entering the election and this unjust system wrenches my heart,” Lee Hsin told reporters, vowing to abolish the threshold if elected.

Lee Hsin said while he paled in comparison with other aspirants, who are all “A-list” politicians, the task of reforming the KMT had to be carried out by someone from the grassroots level.

Lee Hsin was the only person to pick up a registration form.

KMT Central Advisory Committee member Chou Kai-lun (周楷倫) showed up to fill out the form, but did not pay the handling fee and later said he was no longer interested in the post.

Deputy Legislative Speaker Hung Hsiu-chu (洪秀柱), former KMT vice chairman Hau Lung-bin (郝龍斌), KMT Legislator Apollo Chen (陳學聖) and Taipei City Councilor Chung Hsiao-ping (鐘小平) are expected to pick up forms today.

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