Sun, Jul 17, 2005 - Page 3 News List

KMT Chairmanship Election: Let's reconcile, Ma: Presidential Office

NEW DAWN The Presidential Office as well as the DPP yesterday expressed the hope that the new KMT chairman, Taipei Mayor Ma Ying-jeou, would work for the people

By Huang Tai-lin  /  STAFF REPORTER

Extending its congratulations to Taipei Mayor Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) for winning the election as the Chinese Nationalist Party's (KMT) new leader, the Presidential Office yesterday expressed the hope that Ma, upon assuming the party leadership, would have a "positive and active" response to President Chen Shui-bian's (陳水扁) call for reconciliation between the ruling and opposition parties.

"For the purposes of national development and the people's well-being, [we] hope Ma would make an effort to help realize the president's push for reconciliation between the ruling and opposition parties as well as cooperation among all political parties," the Presidential Office said in a statement last night following the KMT headquarters' announcement that Ma had won a landslide victory in the KMT's unprecedented two-way chairmanship race.

Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Chairman Su Tseng-chang (蘇貞昌) also congratulated Ma last night on his victory and expressed the hope that a new era of benign competition between political parties would now dawn.

Su said yesterday's election was a "breakthrough" for the KMT and "a delightful event ... where the party was able to transform from its past role of oppressing Taiwan's democracy to marching in step with the nation's democracy."

"I hope the KMT, under Ma's leadership, will be a loyal opposition party and engage in rational political competition with the DPP," Su said in response to media queries about comments concerning the KMT's new chairman.

"A party should do what a party has to do and should not oppose everything for the mere sake of opposition, leaving the government operating like a turning wheel going nowhere," Su said. He was in Pingtung County yesterday campaigning for former DPP legislator Tsao Chi-hung's (曹啟鴻) candidacy in the year-end mayoral and county commissioner elections.

Saying that the DPP respected the KMT's practice of democratic election within the party, Su said that although there had been conflict throughout the campaign period between Ma's camp and that of the other candidate, Legislative Speaker Wang Jin-pyng (王金平), "it nonetheless is a good experience for the KMT, given it is the party's first democratic experience."

Yesterday's election, with more than one candidate running for the party's highest position, was the first of its kind in the KMT's 110-year history.

In past chairmanship elections, there was always only one candidate and the candidate was voted to the leadership position by either the amount of applause from party members or votes cast by the party's central committee representatives.

As of press time, no comments on the election had been made by the Taiwan Solidarity Union (TSU). While TSU Chairman Su Chin-chiang (蘇進強) was unavailable for comment because he left for the US yesterday afternoon for a six-day visit, TSU legislative caucus convener Mark Ho (何敏豪) said he hopes a special session can be held after the KMT's chairmanship election.

Ho said that the KMT's new leader should display a style different from that of the incumbent chairman, Lien Chan (連戰), and give the people fresh hope.

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