Taipei Mayor Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九), who is also a vice chairman of the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT), yesterday called on party members to support his bid for party chairman, while KMT Chairman Lien Chan (連戰) remained silent amid speculation that he will attempt to retain his post.
Ma announced at a news conference that he had established a Web site (www.ma19.net) for the race, adding that budding candidates needed the signatures of 33,210 party members to run.
Ma said he hoped to see a large number of people support his candidacy, and that the signature drive would allow him to gauge the support he had drummed up after his travels around the nation in the last two months.
Signature collecting formally begins today, while candidate registration must be completed by June 8.
Ma's campaign office spokesman, Wu Yu-sheng (
A 30-second campaign ad was to be aired on cable TV news stations last night calling on Ma's supporters to sign up at his Web site or at signature collection stations around the country, Wu said.
Wu called on party representatives in cities and counties around the country to turn their service offices into collection stations for the Ma campaign.
Meanwhile, Legislative Speaker and KMT Vice Chairman Wang Jin-pyng (
Wang made the comments while meeting representatives from the Taipei chapter of Rotary International at the legislature yesterday.
Wang said the KMT is a "microcosm" of society and composed of people from all walks of life. The chairman should therefore be selected from among the grassroots and should be a skilled negotiator, he said.
But Wang also repeated his commitment that if Lien decided to seek another term, he would quit the race for the chairmanship.
"We should allow Mr. Lien to think about this and make his own mind up," he said.
Wang also said that he could not understand why a senior party member had accused party leaders of impeding democratic reform within the party.
"The spirit of democracy is diversity. If someone has made such an accusation, he has probably failed to comprehend the spirit of democracy," he said.
Wang was referring to remarks made on Monday by KMT Legislator Wu Den-yi (吳敦義).
Wu also said that Lien told him in person he would not seek another term as party chairman.
Ting Yuan-chao (
Arriving at KMT headquarters yesterday, Lien was tight-lipped when asked to comment on Wu's remark.
Wu later said he had received telephone calls on the matter and sensed concern from Lien's office. He said it was true that no one was entitled to speak on behalf of Lien other than Lien himself.