The Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) has no plans for Chairman Lien Chan (連戰) to announce a post-election resignation, party officials said yesterday in response to rumors of such a move.
According to a report in the Chinese-language media yesterday morning, Lien and top party officials held a secret campaign strategy meeting on Monday night during which they discussed Lien's possible resignation.
In a bid to attract more voters, the party's top brass reportedly suggested that three days before the election Lien announce he would step down as chairman right after the polls. The report said Lien had agreed to the suggestion, given that the KMT's own polls indicate the pan-green camp holds a narrow lead in the campaign.
Whether Lien would actually announce his resignation and then follow through after the elections, however, would depend on how well the pan-blue camp is doing next week, the report said.
Party spokesman Chang Jung-kung (張榮恭) denied the report yesterday.
"There is no basis for this report. There was no such meeting and no discussion of such a topic. We feel that at a time when campaigning is at its most passionate, someone deliberately created this report to confuse voters. The public should be alert and not fall for such traps," Chang said.
The rumor was aimed at destroying pan-blue solidarity and taking the heat off of President Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁), Chang said.
"The purpose of the legislative elections is to allow the public to take note of Chen Shui-bian's incompetence in governing the nation and [Premier] Yu Shyi-kun's inability to carry out policy," Chang said. "This [report] is an attempt to put the election's focus on the KMT and create problems with its merger with the People First Party.
Earlier in the day, Chang had responded to Chen's announcement Thursday night that he would pay visits to opposition leaders if the pan-green camp won a majority of seats in the elections.
"Chen also made a similar statement prior to the March 20 presidential election. If he wants to facilitate cooperation between the opposition and ruling parties, he should announce that he will no longer attack or smear opposition party leaders and figures," Chang said. "Only then can there be cooperation. Otherwise, with him deliberately creating opposition between the parties, it is obvious that whatever he says about cooperation is fake."