Sun, Aug 21, 2005 - Page 3 News List

Direct vote confuses KMT members

APOLOGIES The new chairman of the Chinese Nationalist Party told KMT elders that he felt bad about the chaos surrounding the direct election of Central Committee members

By MO YAN-CHIH  /  STAFF REPORTER

Candidates vying for a seat on the Chinese Nationalist Party's Central Committee hold up banners and signs to promote their election bid ahead of the elections that were held yesterday.

PHOTO: SEAN CHAO, TAIPEI TIMES

The Chinese Nationalist Party's (KMT) 17th national convention closed yesterday, with Chairman Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) expressing high hopes for the party to play a vital role in the Legislative Yuan, but on the other hand apologized for the chaotic scene at the convention, as party members struggled to vote in the first direct election of 31 Central Standing Committee (CSC) members, without a clear election scheme.

"As an opposition party, we should enhance our power in the Legislative Yuan and push for more bills that are important to people's livelihoods ... Legislators have to behave more rationally and avoid extremism," Ma said during the closing ceremony.

He later offered his apology to party representatives for the disorder.

"We didn't plan well about the voting procedure and routes to the voting booths. I apologize for the disorder, and the situation will be improved next time," Ma said.

The 31 CSC members were elected last night about seven hours after the list of 210 Central Committee members came out. The top three members on the list were vice executive-director of the party's Policy Committee, Huang Chao-shun (黃昭順), Lien Sheng-wen (連勝文) -- son of former KMT chairman Lien Chan (連戰) -- and Legislator Lu Hsiu-yen (盧秀燕).

Lu received the most votes in the earlier Central Committee election, followed by Huang. Lien Sheng-wen was ranked sixth. KMT Legislator Lee Jih-chu (李紀珠) placed third, and Ma's eldest sister, Ma Yi-nan (馬以南), also won a seat in the election.

Lien thanked the party representatives for giving him the chance to serve the party.

"I felt honored to be able to work with senior members at the party, and there are many things I will need to learn from them," he said.

Lu said that she felt honored but also pressured because she received the most votes in the Central Committee election. She also lauded the party for valuing womens' abilities and carrying out the concept of gender equality.

"This is the first time that the top three central committee members have been female. I thank our party members for appreciating womens' abilities, and I will devote my efforts to work for the party," she said.

The long and chaotic election process, however, drew criticism from some party members. Unfamiliar with the new direct-election procedure, many party representatives complained about the chaotic situation as they struggled to find voting booths among campaign troupes and media.

The disorder even angered KMT Chairman Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九), who lost his way to voting booth and then lost his temper to the media.

"Friends from the media, please respect the election order, OK?" Ma raised his voice when swamped by reporters.

He later offered an apology to the media about his reaction.

KMT Secretary-General Chan Chuen-pao (詹春柏) also apologized for the chaos, and promised to explain the voting routine better to party representatives and clean the voting area by keeping media and campaign troupes from entering there.

The election of the Central Committee members caused a dispute when three of the Central Committee election candidates' names were found to be missing from the vote.

Organization and Development Committee head Liao Feng-teh (廖風德) explained that the candidate list were based on Ma's proposed list. Due to the sudden decision to go with a direct election yesterday, some candidates expressed doubts about continuing to run in the election. Any final changes to the list were made by the election office, Liao said.

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