Sat, Feb 24, 2007 - Page 2 News List

KMT's search for new chairman stumbles

NO TAKERS No party members have expressed an interest in the position after the slot was turned down by the acting chair and Lien Chan failed to express interest

By Mo Yan-chih  /  STAFF REPORTER

Following the resignation of former Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) chairman Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) after his indictment for misusing his special allowance fund, the KMT has stumbled in its search for a new leader as acting chairman Wu Poh-hsiung (吳伯雄) declined yesterday to be a candidate in the by-election.

The KMT is planning to hold the by-election to select a new chairman in mid-April after Ma resigned on Feb. 13, but no members have expressed willingness to take over the position.

In response to press inquiries about his intentions, Wu said his current priority was to promote KMT unity.

"I am not considering running for the by-election. My duty as Acting Chairman is to unite the KMT," Wu said yesterday during a trip to Taichung County.

Although Legislative Speaker Wang Jin-pyng (王金平) and some KMT legislators have called on former chairman Lien Chan (連戰) to take over the position again to lead the party, Lien did not respond to the request.

Wu also denied a story in the Chinese-language United Daily News that the KMT is planning to arrange for Wang to take over the chairmanship and for Ma to be the party's candidate in next year's presidential election.

According to KMT Secretary-General Wu Den-yih (吳敦義), the party will discuss the by-election schedule on Feb. 28 in a meeting of the party's Central Standing Committee, with the new chairman taking over the position no later than early May.

KMT members interested in becoming chairman can become a candidate for the position by collecting signatures from at least 5 percent of party members.

If there are more than two candidates, the party may arrange televised debates for them to present their platforms, Wu Den-yih said.

While Wu Poh-hsiung said he expected the new chairman to be elected within 45 days to assist with the upcoming legislative and presidential elections, Wu Den-yih said the KMT will follow all the required procedures to ensure a fair by-election.

Meanwhile, Ma has not made any public appearances since Monday to concentrate on preparing for his upcoming presidential campaign.

As the KMT does not provide campaign funding until after it chooses a candidate in a presidential primary, the former chairman will have to raise funds through his own office.

Ma will still attend a 228 memorial service held by the KMT tomorrow as a guest and have lunch with family members of 228 victims in Tainan County.

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