Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) Chairman Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) yesterday denied reports that he had received a lecture from former KMT chairman Lien Chan (連戰) over his "mishandling of the premiership issue" during a private meeting with the former leader on Wednesday.
Ma met with Lien at lunchtime on Wednesday to discuss solutions should a pan-blue Cabinet be formed by Legislative Speaker Wang Jin-pyng (王金平) or any another figure. During the meeting, Lien reportedly lectured Ma for handling the issue poorly, after he revealed the content of a conversation with Wang, and reminded him to "bear good intentions to party members as the KMT leader."
Ma yesterday dismissed such reports and said the atmosphere of the meeting was very cordial.
"Lien was happy, and he asked the party to work on cultivating more political talent in cities and counties ? We were shocked when we saw the news, because the stories did not reflect the atmosphere of the meeting at all," he said yesterday, after presiding over a municipal meeting as Taipei mayor.
According to news reports, Lien told Ma that "you need Wang's help in the political world," and that "you said you revealed the information to protect Wang, but the KMT has a weak majority in the legislature, who should protect who?"
Lien also reportedly asked Ma, "Don't you need Wang's help? Why did you handle the situation by revealing information to the public?"
KMT Secretary-General Chan Chuen-pao (詹春柏) was present throughout the meeting, which took place in Lien's office, and briefed the media about the details late yesterday. He said it was a "pleasant meeting," and that the "atmosphere was good."
Chan cited his notes, which he said were a record he had kept of the meeting, and said during the 45-minute meeting Lien advised Ma to consider three possible scenarios regarding the Cabinet issue -- Wang leaving the party to become the next Premier, the president inviting Ma to form a Cabinet, or the president forming a grand coalition.
Chan said Ma told Lien that he had no intention of becoming the next premier.
Meanwhile, Wang yesterday dismissed talk that he would defect to the pan-green camp with over 20 other lawmakers.
"Whoever made such a remark should take a good look at themselves," Wang said.
"What concerns me most in my political career is how to build a better future for the people and how to make the overall political climate more harmonious," he added.
Additional reporting by Ko Shu-ling