Fri, Jan 14, 2005 - Page 3 News List

KMT plans leadership elections for mid-May

STAFF WRITER

The Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) is scheduled to elect an successor to Chairman Lien Chan (連戰) and other senior party officials in mid-May.

The new chairman is then expected to take office on Aug. 27, when the 17th National Party Congress is held.

According to Liao Feng-teh (廖風德), director of the KMT's organization development committee, a draft plan for the transfer of power has attracted attention because Aug. 27 is also Lien's 70th birthday.

Although an earlier merger of the KMT and the People First Party has been widely speculated on in the media, the congress and the handing-over ceremony will be held on Aug. 27 regardless, the plan says.

According to the KMT Constitution, a chairman is directly elected by party members for a term of four years.

Lien was elected chairman in March 2001, although his chairmanship did not tack effect until the following August.

Liao also said that the party chairman and other senior officials will be elected on May 14 or May 21.

In addition, Liao said, preparation for local-government elections at the end of the year would be processed at the same time.

In an interview with CTV last month, Lien said that he would step down as party chairman this August.

Lien's pledge echoed remarks made before last month's legislative elections that he would step down as chairman regardless of the outcome of the elections, in accordance with party policy.

KMT rules stipulate that the current chairman's term must end this August.

But when questioned about potential successors for the chairman's job, Lien declined to comment.

He also refused to comment on whether he was grooming Taipei Mayor Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) or Legislative Speaker Wang Jin-pyng (王金平) for the post, saying only that the party has a great deal of talent within its ranks.

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