Mon, Feb 21, 2005 - Page 4 News List

Ma is too `hasty,' Lien tells Wang

LEADERSHIP The KMT chairman told Wang Jin-pyng that the Taipei mayor had been too eager to throw his hat in the ring in the contest to find a new party chief

By Caroline Hong  /  STAFF REPORTER

Only if Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) Chairman Lien Chan (連戰) runs again for the KMT's top post in May can pan-blue supporters be united, KMT Vice Chairman and Legislative Speaker Wang Jin-pyng (王金平) said yesterday.

Speaking in response to questions about whether or not he intends to run for the KMT's chairmanship in May, Wang told supporters yesterday that he is holding off on making a decision in hopes that Lien will choose to run again.

"I haven't even called any party legislators or made any indications to the outside world, because I am still hoping that Chairman Lien will run again," Wang said yesterday.

Only if Lien continues leading the KMT, can pan-blue supporters be united, Wang said, without specifying how Lien's continued stay in the post would unify the blue camp.

All eyes have been on Wang and his possible chairmanship run since Wang's political rival within the KMT, Taipei City Mayor Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) announced his decision to run for the post when it comesz up for grabs in May.

Since his announcement, Ma has been actively courting support within his party, while Wang has refrained from making a decision. Despite his ambiguity on his personal chances, however, Wang said Saturday to reporters that Lien was apparently unhappy with the haste of Ma's announcement.

Some people are rushing too fast in the chairmanship race, Lien told Wang in a personal telephone call.

While Ma said in response to the comment that he had done everything according to party procedure, Wang further criticized Ma yesterday by saying that the party hadn't finalized any procedures for the May election yet.

According to the KMT's spokesman Chang Jung-kung (張榮恭) Saturday, Lien, who is currently on vacation in Europe, is scheduled to return to the nation Wednesday.

Lien's attitude has been seen as a crucial factor in the outcome of the chairmanship race. While Wang has said in recent days that he will support Lien should he decide to make a reelection bid. Lien has said previously that he believes it is time for a generational transfer of power in the KMT and that he plans to step down as chairman in August.

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