Thu, Aug 17, 2006 - Page 3 News List

Key KMT members grill Ma over party power shift

DISCONTENT A number of Central Standing Committee members charged that Ma's `Chung Shan' meeting has replaced the committee as the decision-making body

By Mo Yan-chih  /  STAFF REPORTER

Several members of the Chinese Nationalist Party's (KMT) Central Standing Committee yesterday lashed out at party chairman Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) for sidelining the committee and relying on his own supporters and aides when making critical party decisions.

The Central Standing Committee was the KMT's decision-making body long before Ma began to hold the so-called "Chung Shan" meeting" with the party's vice chairmen and his close aides after assuming the chairmanship last year.

"It's time to examine the party's decision-making mechanism ... If the Central Standing Committee's influence is fading, then the party needs to make some adjustments," KMT Legislator Shuai Hua-ming (帥化民) said during the committee's weekly meeting yesterday at the KMT's headquarters.

Dissatisfied with the slow tempo of the committee, which he said often discussed outdated issues, Shuai asked the party to enhance the committee's mechanism to allow it to provide quick and efficient responses to current issues on behalf of the party, such as the recent spate of suicides related to financial difficulties and moves to oust the president.

"If the committee has no substantial functions, then the party should establish a new decision-making body," he added.

KMT legislators Hung Hsiu-chu (洪秀柱) and Shyu Jong-shyoung (徐中雄) questioned Ma for shifting the decision-making power of the committee to the Chung Shan meeting.

"The Chung Shan meeting has become [Ma's] consulting body now," Hung said.

Hsu said that Ma's dependence on the opinions of the so-called "Ma troop," which refers to the chairman's top aides and followers, including KMT Legislator Wu Yu-sheng (吳育昇) and Lai Shyh-bao (賴士葆), made it difficult for other committee members' voices to be heard.

Lin Huo-wang (林火旺), a National Taiwan University professor who gave a speech to the committee yesterday, also warned that the existence of the "Ma troop" would only hurt Ma and the party.

"The KMT chairman should be the chairman of all party members, instead of a certain group of people," he said.

In response, Ma assured his critics that there was no "Ma troop" in the KMT, adding that the committee was still the decision-making body, while the Chung Shan meetings were only "preliminary" discussions held prior to the committee's meeting.

"The [Chung Shan] meeting simply provided the vice chairmen with a chance to express their views as we talked about issues to be discussed in the committee," he said.

However, Taichung Mayor Jason Hu (胡志強), who lashed out at Ma last week for holding up the committee's meeting due to his municipal schedule as Taipei mayor, complained about the party's lack of respect for the committee.

"The party is making last-minute changes to the committee's meeting time and agenda more often ... It's not a good sign," he said.

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