Wed, Apr 04, 2007 - Page 3 News List

Ma's army collects primary form

SURPRISE As expected, Wang Jin-pyng didn't appear, but two professors showed up to enter the KMT's primary race

By Mo Yan-chih  /  STAFF REPORTER

A total of nine Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) Taipei City councilors showed up at KMT headquarters yesterday to claim a registration form for the party's presidential primary on behalf of former KMT chairman Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九), while Legislative Speaker Wang Jin-pyng (王金平) was conspicuous by his absence.

While it was expected that Ma would be the only hopeful to claim a registration form, as Wang had announced he would not take part, a National Kaohsiung Normal University professor named Lei Chiao-yun (雷橋雲) surprised everyone when she turned up with a NT$2 million (US$660,000) check in hand to claim a registration form.

"Ma Ying-jeou will be found guilty ... If he wasn't the KMT's presidential candidate, he wouldn't be found guilty. He can be my vice presidential candidate," she told reporters.

Another college professor, Huang Kuang-kuo (黃光國) from National Taiwan University, also visited the KMT headquarters, but did not take a form after being told that the NT$2 million fee would not be returned if he failed to collect enough signatures from party members to complete the registration process.

Chanting "Go, go, Ma Ying-jeou" "Save Taiwan, elect Ma Ying-jeou!" members of the "A-Jeou support group" said Ma, who was absent because he was attending the first day of his trial concerning alleged embezzlement of his mayoral allowance fund, would spare no effort in trying to win the primary.

No fear

"Ma Ying-jeou fears nothing in the face of future challenges. He is well-prepared and ready to win the primary to represent the KMT in the presidential election," KMT Taipei City Councilor Lin Yi-hua (林奕華) said.

In response to Wang's statement on Monday slamming the party's primary process and accusing the KMT of favoring a particular candidate, KMT Secretary-General Wu Den-yih (吳敦義) yesterday said the party regulations were decided by the Central Standing Committee, while he denied accusing Wang of having a "black gold" background.

The KMT's presidential primary campaign officially started yesterday. Candidates must claim a registration form before tomorrow and register with the party between April 19 and April 22.

The primary will be held on May 26.

Also yesterday, Wang, in response to criticism that he is playing the ethnic card against Ma, said: "I did not intend to manipulate the ethnic issue."

Wang said on Monday that the KMT had to take the ethnic issue into account when making its presidential nomination.

"There have been discussions at home and abroad ? about the appropriateness of the political elite of a minority ethnic group governing a majority ethnic group," he said on Monday, adding that the party's handling of its stolen assets and the lawsuit against Ma concerning his alleged corruption were also factors influencing the party's failure or success in the poll.

"I was just reflecting on the problems worrying party supporters," Wang said.

Additional reporting by Shih Hsiu-chuan

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