Wed, May 25, 2005 - Page 3 News List

Lien silent as Ma fires up chairmanship campaign

READY TO RUN It seems Taipei's mayor has committed himself to running for the position of KMT chairman regardless of what Lien Chan and Wang Jin-pyng decide

STAFF WRITER , WITH CNA

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 (吳育昇), said that because Ma's popularity was limited in some parts of the country, the office had prepared a wide range of advertising materials to be published in newspapers, aired on cable television stations and broadcast on radio stations in a bid to solicit the support of party members.

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 (王金平) yesterday said that if he were KMT chairman, he would be able to solve a host of problems currently plaguing the party because his legislative speakership could bring something positive to the development of the party.

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 (丁遠超), director of the KMT chairman's office, yesterday said Lien will hold a press conference soon to say if he will be running for the post.

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.

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