Sat, Jun 02, 2007 - Page 3 News List

KMT caucus wants to revive Ma-Wang presidential ticket

By Shih Hsiu-chuan and Mo Yan-chih  /  STAFF REPORTERS

The Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) legislative caucus passed a resolution yesterday calling on former party chairman Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) to pair up with Legislative Speaker Wang Jin-pyng (王金平) in next year's presidential race.

KMT Legislator Chiang Pin-kung (江丙坤), also a KMT vice chairman, raised the issue, which was echoed by a number of lawmakers at the caucus meeting.

"We elected Wang as speaker, and now [the caucus] has to do something ... like launch a signature drive to push for a `Ma-Wang ticket,'" Chiang said.

KMT Legislator John Chiang (蔣孝嚴) said he felt "guilty" after learning that Wang turned down Ma's offer to be his running mate because of the caucus' "inaction" on the issue.

At the suggestion of KMT Legislator Huang Chao-shun (黃昭順), the caucus passed the resolution in place of Chiang Pin-kun's proposal of a signature petition.

"If we have to do this [promote a `Ma-Wang ticket'], we have to do it together -- otherwise the party could face a spilt," Huang said.

After the resolution was passed unanimously by the caucus, a group of KMT lawmakers, led by caucus whip Tseng Yung-chuan (曾永權), visited Ma to pass on the caucus' message.

Wang refused to comment further on the likelihood of pairing up with Ma, saying: "It's busy in the legislature at the moment, with many bills needing to be tackled. I don't talk about issues other than how to resolve the legislative deadlock."

While the group is still pushing for a "Ma-Wang" ticket, some KMT legislators have begun looking elsewhere for a running mate for Ma.

Jason Lin (林蒼生), chief executive officer of the Uni-President Group, could be a good choice of vice president, some KMT lawmakers said.

"It's a good idea for [former] chairman Ma to start looking for a running mate either from the business community or academia," KMT Legislator Hung Hsiu-chu (洪秀柱) said when approached by reporters after the caucus meeting.

In response to the caucus' proposal, Ma yesterday said he would not reconsider a "Ma-Wang ticket," reiterating his support for Wang's wish to continue to serve as legislative speaker.

"The decision Speaker Wang and I made on Thursday will not change," Ma said in response to media queries after addressing the Model United Nations' student conference at National Chengchi University.

Earlier yesterday, KMT Secretary-General Wu Den-yih (吳敦義) said the party was considering whether to place Wang at the top of the KMT's list of at-large legislators, but that would depend on the public's response.

Ma said his words of support for Wang were an expression of his "personal will," but the KMT has its own procedures in dealing with such matters. He declined to elaborate.

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