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Tue, Jun 13, 2000 - Page 3 News List

KMT ready to shake up its executive

POWER SHARING Changes to how members of the party's Central Standing Committee are selected mean that lawmakers will have an opportunity to have more influence in the party

By Hung Chen-ling  /  STAFF REPORTER

The KMT's defeat in the March election heralded radical changes which will affect the distribution of power within the party and the make-up of its executive body, the Central Standing Committee (CSC).

This is not only because Cabinet members will no longer join the ranks of the committee while the party remains in opposition, but because defeat has forced the party to reform its internal election process.

In the past, when the KMT held immense sway over its members, it designated 16 of the CSC's 33 members, while the other 17 were elected by 230 Central Committee members from among their own ranks. Even in the case of "elected" members, however, the party was often thought to campaign covertly in favor of its own preferred "unofficial appointees."

With the March defeat, however, came a diminution in the party's authority and a reform committee was established to draw up reform proposals.

The committee proposed canceling the quota for designated members and confining membership exclusively to those elected by the Central Committee, as well as reducing the total number of CSC members from 33 to 31.

Many KMT lawmakers, however, fear a loss of influence which they claim could damage the party further.

"The KMT should increase the number of lawmakers in its primary decision-making body in order better to reflect public opinion," said lawmaker Chen Hung-chi (陳鴻基).

Many lawmakers have shown an interest in securing CSC posts, including Legislative Yuan Speaker Wang Jin-pyng (王金平) and Vice Speaker Yao Eng-chi (饒穎奇). The former is thought likely by many to be promoted to the post of vice chairman of the KMT as a token of the party's respect.

In addition to Wang and Yao, lawmaker Ting Shou-chung (丁守中), Huang Chao-shun (黃昭順), Cheng Feng-shih(鄭逢時), Chang Jen-hsiang(章仁香), James Chen (陳健治) and Liao Hwu-peng (廖福本) are running for CSC positions.

According to KMT lawmakers, some 15 of them will stand for CSC posts and Wang is doing his best to campaign on their behalf.

"Legislators should at least occupy one third to one quarter of CSC posts," said Wang.

The Legislative Yuan is a "doorkeeper" for crucial policies, so the KMT should look up to its Legislative Yuan members and ensure that the CSC maintains its significance by maximizing its involvement in the decision-making process, Wang said.

KMT spokesman, Jason Hu (胡志強) said the party welcomed more lawmakers in the CSC, but restated the party position that there would be no protective quota for them.

Of the current 33 CSC members, four are from the Legislative Yuan, two from the National Assembly, 13 from the former KMT government and five from local government, with the rest coming from civil or business groups.

"The Central Committee is likely to vote to replace the majority of former government officials currently sitting on the CSC with current members of the Legislative Yuan and National Assembly, due to changes in the political climate," said former National Assembly Deputy Chuang Lung-chang(莊隆昌).

Chuan, in addition to his colleagues Chen Chin-jang (陳金讓) and John Chang (章孝嚴), has actively sought CSC positions.

At a dinner meeting last week, they received support from about 30 Assembly deputies with the status of Central Committee members.

To date, some 63 members, including 30 deputies and 33 legislators who are also Central Committee members, are thought to have pledged their support to legislators who are candidates for the CSC. But none have gained sufficient pledges of support to guarantee victory, it is thought.

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