Sun, Mar 13, 2005 - Page 3 News List

Ma to begin chairmanship post campaigning in April

CNA , TAIPEI

Taipei City Mayor Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) said yesterday that he will formally kick off his campaign for the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) chairmanship in April even if Legislative Speaker Wang Jin-pyng (王金平) announces his intention to run before that time.

After learning that Wang was on a trip yesterday to his hometown of Kaohsiung to consult with supporters about the possibility of entering the chairmanship race, Ma said he has never expected to run unopposed, adding that having more candidates enter the race is better for the KMT because it means more people are interested in serving the party.

Noting that the KMT would begin candidate registrations after March 21, Ma said he would announce his candidacy in April, at which time he would begin seeking the sponsorship of party members to enter the race.

Meanwhile, Wang said yesterday that he still has to decide over the next few days whether he should run for the KMT chairmanship, but that if he does, the campaign would be rational and peaceful.

The politically-savvy speaker made the remarks while attending a ceremony marking the establishment of the "Friends of Jin-pyng in Kaohsiung County" support group. A similar group was established in Pingtung County the same day.

Wang said earlier that he wants incumbent KMT Chairman Lien Chan (連戰) to continue in the post. Lien has yet to publicly announce his intention to step down, although he has said several times that the party needs a generational transition.

Wang, a legislator for 10 consecutive terms, expressed appreciation to his supporters, saying that the party, after losses in the 2000 and 2004 presidential elections, has faced a number of problems.

Wang also said he will consider whether he is fit to serve in the post, to continue the reforms started by Lien, integrate the KMT and its two splinter parties -- the New Party and the People First Party (PFP) -- and to deal with the controversial issue of party assets and inject new blood into the party to make it "Taiwanese."

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