Sat, Jan 28, 2006 - Page 2 News List

KMT Youth Corps readies for its leadership election

By Mo Yan-chih  /  STAFF REPORTER

The newly formed Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) Youth Corps yesterday began the registration process to elect its leader and called on the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) to "follow its example."

"We hope that DPP Chairman Yu Shyi-kun will also establish a youth corps and choose its leader through a nationwide election in order to improve the political situation in Taiwan and the DPP's relationship with the KMT," said spokesman Lu Chi-chiang (羅智強) yesterday during a visit to DPP headquarters.

Earlier yesterday morning, during the press conference to announce the party's youth corps leadership election, corps members shouted "Youth rules!" and pledged to strive for greater roles for youth in the political world.

"Young people were treated like vassals with no real power in political parties. Now the KMT has given us the stage and our direct involvement in the decision-making process will revolutionize politics," said the corps' election committee chief Chang Si-gang (張斯綱) yesterday at the KMT headquarters.

The formation of the KMT Youth Corps, which will be formally established in March, was one of KMT Chairman Ma Ying-jeou's (馬英九) campaign promises in last year's KMT chairmanship election and is intended to inject new blood into the party to boost reform.

While the corps is intended to attract youthful talent, it has been dubbed by the media as a "clique of princes," with senior members including former KMT chairman Lien Chan's (連戰) son, Lien Sheng-wen (連勝文), and KMT Legislator John Wu (吳志揚), the son of KMT Vice Chairman Wu Poh-hsiung (吳伯雄) -- both among the next generation of KMT big guns.

Many expected that Lien Sheng-wen, who is seen as a promising star already in the party, would be the corps' leader, but he declined to enter the election.

In addition to KMT Legislator Justin Chou (周守訓), who has announced that he will run in the election, John Wu and KMT Legislator Lin Yi-shih (林益世) are also possible candidates.

"I join the race not for my personal power and fame, but to unite the party's young people. The KMT failed to take the youth seriously in the past and I can't absent myself from this important election," Chou said yesterday when registering.

The election registration process runs until Feb. 7. Voters will be able to make their choice by mail, telephone and online. The result will be announced on March 29.

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