Sun, Apr 08, 2007 - Page 3 News List

Wu wins comfortably in KMT chairmanship poll

MEDIA WIN While acknowledging defeat, Hung Hsiu-chu said the media owed her an apology for turning the race into a contest between Ma and Wang's agents

By Mo Yan-chih  /  STAFF REPORTER

Former Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) acting chairman Wu Poh-hsiung (吳伯雄) won a landslide victory in the party chairmanship by-election yesterday, garnering more than 86 percent of the vote.

His opponent, KMT Legislator Hung Hsiu-chu (洪秀柱), conceded defeat even before the counting was finished.

Wu garnered 86.97 percent of the votes, or 156,499 votes, against Hung's 13.03 percent, or 23,477 votes, the KMT's organization and development committee director Liao Fung-te (廖風德) said after all ballots were counted yesterday evening at party headquarters.

The by-election attracted 181,374 of the KMT's more than 320,000 members with party rights nationwide -- a turnout rate of 53.75 percent.

Even before all the ballots were counted, Wu declared victory and promised to push for party unity and lead the KMT to victory in both the legislative and presidential elections.

"I'll spare no efforts to push for party unity and present the best candidates to win the legislative and presidential elections," Wu said.

Faced with the daunting tasks ahead, Wu said he would shoulder the heavy responsibility to reform the party, while reiterating his pledge that the by-election would be his last battle.

"This is my last battle and my last job ... Hopefully I can retire gracefully when the KMT wins the 2008 presidential election," he said.

Hung, who celebrated her 60-year-old birthday at party headquarters yesterday, congratulated Wu on his victory, while blaming her defeat on local media's interpretation of the by-election as a competition between agents for former KMT chairman Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) and Legislative Speaker Wang Jin-pyng (王金平).

"It's not a war between agents for Wang and Ma. The media owes me an apology ... Now that the by-election is over, I congratulate Wu and expect him to lead the KMT towards victory in future elections," Hung said.

A flower basket sent by People First Party Chairman James Soong (宋楚瑜) congratulating Wu on his victory arrived at the KMT headquarters about 30 minutes after voting started.

As a gesture of friendship, Wu showed up at party headquarters carrying a birthday cake for Hung, and led the crowd in singing and wishing her a happy birthday before making his victory statement.

However, when asked whether he would offer Hung any position in the party or nominate her in the legislative election, Wu declined to make any promises.

"The KMT needs her talents, and I will invite her to continue participating in party reform ... But she asked me not to discuss the issue in public," he said.

Hung had promised not to join the legislative election this year, but yesterday refused to reiterate her promise when asked to comment on the issue.

In response to Wang's previous comment urging the new chairman to refrain from further amending party regulations so that only members convicted on the third trial would be suspended, Wu said it would be a decision made by all party delegates.

"It's important that we only exclude those who are involved in `black gold,' and not chase out those who are actually not," Wu said.

The KMT removed the `black gold exclusion clause' after Ma was indicted on corruption charges to allow him to join the KMT's presidential primary. The KMT is expected to further relax its regulations when it holds its party congress in June.

The by-election was held after Ma resigned as chairman in February after his indictment.

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