Conflict within the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) intensified yesterday as party members in Kaohsiung launched a petition demanding the party fire two party top officials for "intentionally" damaging Legislative Speaker Wang Jin-pyng's (王金平) reputation.
Signed by local politicians and grassroots groups, including Kaohsiung County Council Speaker Hsu Fu-sen (許福森), vice speaker Lu Shu-mei (陸淑美) and a number of councilors in Kaohsiung, Taichung and Hsinchu, the petition accused KMT Secretary-General Wu Den-yih (吳敦義) and Deputy Secretary-General Liao Feng-de (
They also said they would not campaign for the party's candidates in next year's elections if the party refused to fire the two.
"Wu and Liao have created conflict in the party by slandering Speaker Wang and treating him as an enemy. They have destroyed party unity and should be replaced for the sake of the party's victory in [next year's] elections," the petition said.
Reports have circulated that Wu, Liao and KMT Chairman Wu Poh-hsiung (
While Wang appears confident that the party would support his reelection bid, Liao said earlier this month that Wang should prove his achievements and follow party procedures in winning the party's nomination.
Wu Den-yih, on the other hand, allegedly pressured Wang, a distant relative of Prosecutor Hou Kuan-jen (
Dissatisfied with the friction within the party, pro-Wang members urged Wu Poh-hsiung in the statement to fire Wu Den-yih and Liao, saying they would refrain from joining campaign activities if the party failed to do so.
Wu Poh-hsiung dismissed the threat, insisting that party unity was the KMT's priority.
"We need to join forces and fight our opponents ... I will not listen to any mischief-makers now," he said yesterday after attending the Hakka festival at Taipei City Hall.
The party chairman said the petition was signed by only a handful of members and denied holding Wang back.
"The KMT will always support Speaker Wang ... All party members should attack our opponents only," he said.
KMT Spokesman Su Jun-pin (蘇俊賓) lauded Wu Den-yih and Liao's efforts in campaigning for party candidates, saying the party saw no reason to ask them to step down.
Wang declined to comment when approached by reporters yesterday.
KMT Legislator Huang Chao-shun (
KMT caucus whip Hsu Shao-ping (徐少萍) was more optimistic. She said the relationship between Wu and Wang might not be as bad as the media had speculated because she had never heard Wang complain about Wu Den-yih.
Additional reporting by Flora Wang