Sat, Jan 27, 2007 - Page 3 News List

KMT chairman says he will step down if indicted

MAYORAL ALLOWANCE Despite party members warning that the case was a DPP trap, Ma Ying-jeou insisted that he would follow KMT rules and quit

By Mo Yan-chih  /  STAFF REPORTER

Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) Chairman Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) yesterday repeated his pledge that he would resign if he were indicted for embezzling from his "special allowance fund."

Ma, a former Taipei mayor, made the remarks in response to speculation that the investigation into whether he had misused his mayoral special allowance will be concluded next week.

He said he had used the special allowance in accordance with regulations made by the Cabinet.

"Hopefully the judicial system will prove my innocence. But the KMT's regulations require that I must resign if indicted ... Regulations are important," Ma said during a meeting with party members in Hsinchu City.

Ma's alleged misuse of the special allowance has been under investigation by the Black Gold Investigation Center after Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Legislator Hsieh Hsin-ni (謝欣霓) and several of her colleagues filed a lawsuit last August, accusing Ma of using the fund to pay for a physical exam and to adopt a dog.

Although some KMT members had said the issue was a trap set by the DPP and urged him not to fall into the trap by resigning as party chairman if indicted, Ma said that he would follow party regulations.

Meanwhile, in response to Ma's falling approval rate in a recent survey, KMT Spokesman Su Jun-pin (蘇俊賓) said the party would work to improve Ma's image.

According to a survey conducted by the Chinese-language United Daily News, Ma's approval rating fell to 44 percent, from a high of 51 percent last June that came amid demonstrations calling for the president to resign.

More than 50 percent of respondents said they would support Ma if he runs for president next year, while 25 percent said they would choose Frank Hsieh (謝長廷) and 22 percent favored Premier Su Tseng-chang (蘇貞昌), the newspaper survey showed.

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